During the 2000s, over 1.5 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean were killed, equivalent to 2.5 times the population of Washington, D.C. Most of these homicides were geographically concentrated and can be attributed to urban armed groups. Urban violence imposes significant economic and social costs on the region, yet policymakers and decisionmakers have little evidence and limited tools at their disposal to prevent and control it.
On Friday, September 7, the Economic and Social Policy in Latin America (ESPLA) Initiative at Brookings, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) co-hosted an event to discuss evidence-based security policy in Latin America and innovations in crime prevention and reduction interventions. Panelists offered their insights on which policies work, which do not, and what is left to learn.
After the discussion, the panelists took audience questions.
Director-President - Institute of Public Security, Brazil
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The Duque government’s drug policy in Colombia is taking on a progressively ominous and counterproductive direction. It threatens to undermine the incomplete and struggling peace process, misdirect law enforcement resources, augment the alienation of coca farmers from the state and undermine human rights and drug users’ access to health services in Colombia. With their emphasis on criminalization of even drug possession for personal use and forced eradication, the announced policies clearly cater to the Trump administration’s doctrinaire and discredited drug policy preferences that harken back to the 1980s. But without sustainable livelihoods already in place, forced eradication will not sustainably reduce coca cultivation and cocaine production. The dominance of zero-coca thinking in Colombia whereby a community has to eradicate all coca first before it starts receiving even meager assistance from the state never produced positive results in Colombia.