Can crime in Latin America be prevented?

A program for journalists offered by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Administered by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ)


Versión en español

Latin America and the Caribbean is the world´s most crime-ridden region. Its 2012 murder rate of nearly 24 per 100,000 citizens is amongst the world´s highest. One in five Latin Americans report having been victim of a robbery over the past year. The cost of crime varies from 2 percent of GDP to over 10 percent. And while about 30 percent of Latin America´s murders are linked to drug trafficking, Latin America has been violent for decades, even before the rise of major cartels: its murder rate has been five to eight times higher than that of Europe and Asia since the 1950s.

Given this grim reality, and the region’s apparent inability to bring crime under control, is there a way for governments to prevent crime? What programs actually work? Should governments, for instance, deploy more video cameras in public? Do “mano dura” policies actually lower crime rates? What are the best practices to deal with at-risk youths? What is the relationship between crime and statistics?

And, what is the role that the media should play in crime prevention and the perception of violence?

“Can Crime in Latin America be Prevented?”, a six-week, instructor-mediated online course in Spanish and Portuguese about crime prevention, will take place in the final quarter of 2014, followed by a five-day fellowship in Washington, D.C., in early 2015 for a small number of the program’s most outstanding participants.

Participants will learn how to cover issues that affect crime, particularly in urban settings. The online course will include IDB and outside experts as guest speakers, as well as instructive videos on the topic. The journalists’ work will emphasize story production; under the terms of their participation, all selected journalists will produce and publish news reports, feature stories, videos, photos and multimedia, during and at the conclusion of the course.

The course is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and administered by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). Journalists who complete the course and publish stories on the subject will receive a certificate of course completion.

A committee chaired by the ICFJ will select a small number of participants who contributed the most to the course and produced the best stories to travel to Washington, D.C. in early 2015 for the IDB Fellowship. During this five-day fellowship, ICFJ will work with the IDB fellows to develop further multimedia-rich reports and expand their knowledge of crime and crime prevention through meetings with experts from a variety of organizations. The fellowship also will provide an introduction to data journalism to cover development issues.

Image CC-licensed on Flickr via v1ctor

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