Crime, violence ‘nearing crisis levels in Caribbean, Latin America’

A study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) estimates the direct annual cost of crime and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean at $261 billion or 3.55 percent of GDP – roughly what the region invests on infrastructure and double the average cost for developed countries.
IDB’s study, The Costs of Crime and Violence: New Evidence, New Revelations in Latin America and the Caribbean, compared the cost of crime for 17 countries in the region, benchmarking them against 6 developed countries and found that “crime and violence are at near crisis levels in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The region accounts for 9% of the world’s population but contributes nearly one-third of its homicide victims, making it the most violent region outside of war zones. Six out of ten robberies in the region involve violence and 90% of murders go unresolved. Its prisons are the most overcrowded in the world.”
The IDB noted that while there has been positive developments for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in terms of economic growth comparative to developed countries, crime in the region has increased.
According to the IDB “in the face of high crime rates, the costs of crime can be sizable: individuals change their behavior to avoid (or engage in) criminal activity, households and businesses spend to protect themselves from crime, firms reduce their levels of investment and incur productivity losses, and governments shift the allocation of resources to tackle the associated problems.”

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