Superar la crisis de criminalidad en América Latina

Los delitos violentos socavan las sociedades del mismo modo como dañan a las víctimas individuales. De hecho, muchos países de América Latina y el Caribe se encuentran atrapados en un círculo vicioso: los ciudadanos han dejado de confiar en el sistema de justicia penal porque éste no puede seguir el ritmo del aumento de los índices de criminalidad. Para que las economías y democracias de América Latina florezcan, es necesario restituir la fe en estas instituciones fundamentales.

La cantidad de homicidios por armas de fuego en América Latina -entre 73.000 y 90.000 al año- triplica el promedio mundial. Para las personas de entre 15 y 44 años de edad, la violencia es la principal causa de muerte en la región. Si bien los índices de criminalidad difieren grandemente entre naciones (y dentro de ellas), los índices de homicidios informados para Colombia, El Salvador, Venezuela y Brasil están entre los más altos del mundo. Un estudio reciente financiado por las Naciones Unidas estimó que los crímenes violentos le cuestan a El Salvador un asombroso 11,5% de su PIB.

Si bien sabemos que las drogas y las armas son problemas importantes para algunas partes de América Latina, no existe información fiable acerca de su influencia. Es difícil comparar índices de victimación entre naciones, porque a menudo los registros policiales son incompletos o han sido amañados por políticos corruptos o administradores de la policía para apoyar su opinión política de cómo se debe enfrentar la criminalidad.

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