Latin America Crime – Best & Worst

February 21, 2014

In the most extensive ranking of its kind ever, the Latin Crime Index from Latinvex provides the answers. It looks at six key factors that measure crime, including homicides, kidnappings, assaults, robberies (with force), thefts (without force) and car thefts.

We analyzed data for 18 countries from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nations Program for Development, national governments and NGOs.

Overall, Latin America fares poorly compared to the rest of the world, although the results vary strongly from country to country. And so do the reasons behind the crime.

“The problem varies greatly in kind and in extent from country to country,” says Simon Strong, president of Tenacitas International and an expert on Latin American security.

Drugs-trade driven gang activity is the prime driver of violence in Central America and Mexico, the Latin American region where insecurity has risen most dramatically over the last decade, overwhelming the already feeble law enforcement capability, he says.

In other countries factors range from a politicized police force to guerrilla-led crime. “And in Brazil the “World Cup” protests evidence rising discontent with rising inequality and this should be watched carefully because similar behavior may spread, particularly if the region’s commodity-driven economic fortunes were to taper off,” Strong says.

The Latin Crime Index shows that …