New World Bank report says prevention crucial to reducing crime in the Caribbean

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WASHINGTON D.C., February 7, 2017 – As crime and violence continue to be a pervasive and costly problem in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the World Bank says the region needs to increase prevention efforts based on a clearer understanding of the complex circumstances that fuel this reality and policies that are proven to work.
According to a new World Bank report, violence remains a significant challenge for LAC in spite of the significant economic and social gains experienced by the region over the last decade.
The report notes that high levels of crime and violence take a heavy toll on development and have a high cost in human lives.” 
In order to be successful, Jorge Familiar, World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, said the region needs to “build a more inclusive social fabric, with more equality of opportunities, and implement prevention policies that have worked to curb violence, such as reducing school dropout rates and increasing quality youth employment.”
According to the report, insecurity is the result of many factors – from drug trafficking and organized crime, to weak judicial and law enforcement systems that promote impunity, to a lack of opportunities and support for marginalized young populations.
“Crime and violence are also highly geographically concentrated in specific pockets within neighbourhoods and cities, so not all countries, cities or communities in the region suffer the same levels of violence.”
The report underscores that there’s “no magic formula or single policy” to fix the problem. It emphasizes that relying only on greater police action or greater incarceration is not enough.
“A well-targeted combination of initiatives can play a significant role in preventing violent acts and criminal behaviour,” it stated, adding that a key conclusion is that itis never too early nor too late for prevention to work.
“While long-term approaches to prevention may begin before birth and reap benefits in adolescence and adulthood, effective policy interventions with shorter-term horizons are also available later in life, such as investments in education, behavioural and soft skills programmes, and well-targeted poverty reduction efforts.”

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