14 November - Latin America is the most insecure region in the world as a result of an increase in the murder rate that the United Development Programme (UNDP) has described as “epidemic”. One out of three Latin Americans has reportedly been the victim of a crime in 2012, mainly theft. The perception of insecurity has also prompted families to change their lifestyle: between 45 and 65% no longer go out at night, while 13% have decided to change residence for fear of being the victim of a crime, according to an inquiry accompanying the study.
“Since the insecurity has had an impact on the lives of families, the rich middle class has resort to vigilantes. Today at the regional level there are nearly twice as many private guards as police officers and this does nothing more than to increase the inequality that already exists,” said Heraldo Muñoz, Deputy Secretary-General and UNDP Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. The major concern is related to the increase in the murder rate, which has fallen in other regions of the world beyond the context of wars.
The Latin American region, meanwhile, has recorded an average of 100,000 murders a year and in the period between 2000 and 2010, over one million people had been murdered. In 11 of the 18 countries analyzed in the study, the murder rate is of more than 10 per 100,000 inhabitants with Honduras, having the dubious distinction of leading these statistics with 86 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2011. Mexico’s rate is of 23 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. The situation of insecurity is closely linked to economic indicators, however positive, with growth of regional economies on average around 4 % in the last decade. In this context, cases of theft – 6 out of 10 are committed with violence – have also tripled, with the highest numbers being recorded in Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. © 2013 MISNA -