According to a recent study conducted by the United Nations, Latin America “remains the most unequal and most insecure region in the world.” The 2013-2014 Regional Human Development Report’s (HDR), Citizen Security with a Human Face: evidence and proposals says “the region experienced both economic growth and increased crime rates over the past decade, with more than 100,000 murders per year during that time.”

The UN News Center sums it up pretty nicely:

  • “While homicide rates stabilized and even fell in some of the countries, the perception of security worsened with robberies hiking threefold in the past 25 years.”

  • “The report focuses on six main overlapping threats that negatively impact the region: street crime; violence and crime committed by and against youth; gender-based violence; corruption (the misappropriation of public property, whose provision is the responsibility of the state); violence committed by state actors and organized crime.”


  • “While some threats – such as organized crime, especially drug trafficking – are often used to explain insecurity, the regional, national and local dynamics are much more diverse.”


  • “One of the main lessons he drew in the report is that “iron fist” policies do not work: strong police and criminal repression in the region have often coincided with high crime rates.” This is particularly interesting, considering the local population has been asking for stronger measures against criminal activities lately. Even the Kirchnerite government seems to have given in to such demands after the created a Ministry of Security in the Buenos Aires province and appointed controversial Ezeiza mayor Alejandro Granados to lead it.


  • “Young men are the most affected by crime and violence, and yet are the most common perpetrators.”


  • “Gender violence is a persistent threat and obstacle to human development, public health and human rights in the region.”


  • “Insecurity is affecting the region’s economic potential. Without the excess mortality due to homicide, the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would have been 0.5 per cent higher, equivalent to a potential gain of more than $24 billion in 2009.”

Don’t tell your parents.

(Click here to download a PDF version of the report.)

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