12:55 PM 4/11/2018 – Homicide rate per 100 000 population in Puerto Rico: just under 20

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Latin America’s homicide epidemic

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Latin Americas homicide epidemic – Daily chart

mikenova shared this story from Graphic detail.

LATIN America boasts just 8% of the world’s population, but it accounts for 38% of its murders. The number of criminal killings in the region came to around 140,000 people last year, more than have been lost in wars around the world in almost all of the years this century. And the crime is becoming ever more common.

Yet the continent also has some of the biggest improvers. In many Colombian cities murder used to be the leading cause of death. The rate in Cali in 1994 was 124 per 100,000, four times worse than New York at its most lethal. The mayor was a surgeon who realised that murder was like a disease. Following an approach pioneered in New York and copied across the rich world, he set up “violence observatories” to study precisely how people, places and behaviour led to killings. They found that, even amid a raging drugs war, most murders resulted from drunken brawls. Restrictions on alcohol and guns helped cut murders by 35%. Other Colombian cities tweaked Cali’s evidence-based policing to suit their own needs—Medellín, for example, targeted drug cartels. Police and judicial reform, and aid from the United States, were crucial, too. In 2017 Colombia’s murder rate was 24 per 100,000, the lowest for 42 years.

That is still high, and there are more problems to come. The demobilisation of the FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) after decades of guerrilla war has created local power vacuums that could be filled by organised crime, especially if the government does not create opportunities for ex-combatants, coca farmers and young people. “Colombia is not approaching heaven,” says María Victoria Llorente of the Ideas for Peace Foundation. “We’re barely leaving hell, and if we aren’t careful, we’ll stay in limbo.”

Read more about homicide in our Briefing and Leader

Intentional homicides (per 100,000 people) – UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s International Homicide Statistics database.
Puerto Rico
1995: 23
2015: 16
 World: stable, about 5

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