Growing citizen security concerns

Latin America and the Caribbean

All over the region, concerns about citizen security are increasing. Here is a sample of media coverage from the first half of August about rising crime, kidnapping, public reactions and leaders' proposed solutions.

In Mexico, where drug-fueled violence has killed more than 2,600 people so far this year, crime is the number-one issue. The recent kidnapping and murder of a teenager from one of the country's wealthiest families - apparently with assistance from corrupt police - has outraged public opinion further.

In Colombia, where major cities have seen dramatic security improvements during the past few years, reports in the media express concern about recent backsliding.

More recent examples follow.

Entire Region

  • Kevin Casas, former 2nd vice president of Costa Rica, writes in the 8/5 Miami Herald: "The perception that the authorities are unable to protect citizens' fundamental rights is damaging support for democratic institutions in Latin America and creating a breeding ground for authoritarian attitudes."

Central America

  • Proceso (Mexico) 8/15: Centroamérica: zona de miedo: "The region's murder rate is 36 for every 100,000 inhabitants. ... In El Salvador the murder rate is 67.8, almost 3 times that of Mexico and Latin America; 10 times larger than the United States and 45 times higher than Canada."


  • Perfil 8/10: "Narcos en Argentina: siete capos colombianos pasaron por el país": Some of Colombia's most-wanted narcos and paramilitary leaders have regularly passed into Argentina using forged documents. Three were gunned down in a Buenos Aires shopping mall at the beginning of the month.
  • Clarín editorial 8/6: Dar respuestas a la inseguridad: "The night is when the nearly generalized absence of police personnel in the capital's public space is made clear with greatest eloquence."


  • Los Angeles Times 8/10: Soldiers blamed for killings in Rio de Janeiro slum: "The irony is that the army generally enjoyed higher standing in the favelas than the police, widely assailed as brutal and corrupt, and sometimes in cahoots with shady militiamen who serve as ad hoc executioners."

Costa Rica

  • La Nación 8/14: Reforma a leyes de seguridad ataca la delincuencia común: Costa Rica's legislature considers an executive-branch proposal that would give security officials new powers, such as wiretapping, access to bank account information, and greater ability to impose preventive detentions.

Dominican Republic