Thu | Oct 17, 2019

IDB commits to work with Caribbean countries on strategies to prevent, reduce crime

Published:Sunday | September 15, 2019 | 11:20 AM

WASHINGTON, CMC – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has confirmed its commitment to work with Latin American and Caribbean countries on strategies to prevent and reduce crime.

During the Citizen Security Week 2019 that wrapped up at IDB headquarters here on Friday, the international financial institution emphasised that to improve long-term citizen security, it is necessary to have  greater investment in social development and more effective, efficient and transparent institutions.

“One of the lessons learned over the past 20 years is that we can’t solve security problems if we act in an isolated manner,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. 

“At a time when criminal activity can cross borders faster than goods and services, regional cooperation in citizen security is critical to securing a safer future.

“Our shared objective should be to openly discuss our challenges, share best practices and collaborate to find and implement solutions,” he added.

During the Citizen Security Week, the IDB said discussions focused on the importance of preventing crime and violence in high risk areas and in those that impact vulnerable populations, such as women and youth.

“I urge all of us to join forces and act firmly and with determination to eradicate a hidden violence in the region that has no voice, that lives in fear and helplessness,” said IDB vice president of Sectors and Knowledge, Ana María Rodríguez-Ortiz. 

“It is the dreadful cultural silence that hides domestic violence,” she added. “We know that the best inheritance we can leave to future generations is a region with respect for laws and life, trust in institutions prevail, and contribute to their efforts to achieve a much safer region.”

In addition, the IDB said delegates stressed the importance of working to improve institutions responsible for preventing, countering and prosecuting crime. 

Among the processes necessary to address the modernisation of the sector, they highlighted that the changes within the security and justice institutions are the most complex and difficult tasks, the IDB said.

It said innovative and technological solutions from different countries in the region and around the world were also shared. 

For example, the IDB said it was noted that this year the city of Bogotá achieved the lowest homicide rate in the last 40 years, and Honduras reduced it by 50 per cent in the last five years.

In that context, a preliminary IDB study entitled “Inside the prisons of Latin America and the Caribbean: A first look at the other side of the bars” was shared, which includes the first results of a survey conducted in 14 countries on who the prisoners are and how they live in prisons in the region. 

The IDB said this initial document shows that the problem, far from diminishing, is getting bigger. 

Since 2000, the IDB said the inmate population of the region has increased by 120 percent, while in the rest of the world has increased by 24 per cent.

During the event, attendees also received information on the Leaders for Citizen Security and Justice Management free online course that will begin next October, where the latest trends in prevention, police modernisation, justice reform and social reintegration will be reviewed, the IDB said.

In parallel, within the framework of the Citizen Security Week, together with the SmartFilms Film Festival, the IDB launched a micro-documentary contest on Citizen Security, where 200 proposals from countries in the region were received. 

“All the documentaries had the particularity that they had to be recorded with a cell phone and with a duration of up to two minutes,” the IDB said. 

The winner was Agustina Visconti from Uruguay, with a documentary entitled “Libre-Mente ”.

The IDB said 17 regional countries, more than 40 regional and international panelists, and over 400 delegates participated in Citizen Security Week 2019.