Combatting the threat posed by transnational and domestic criminal organisations has become a critical concern of governments throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Ideas of how to reduce crime and organised violence in this region vary between those who advocate for state-security led approaches and those who argue for approaches that tackle the causes of crime and the factors that incentivise people to engage in risky behaviour (Basombrío & Dammert, 2013). Policy responses in Latin America and the Caribbean have been implemented at a range of levels, from local to regional, and have involved a range of different actors.
The following lessons and recommendations were identified from the literature reviewed:
- Several authors argue that state-security led approaches such as the mano dura (strong handed) approach in the northern triangle have been ineffective at reducing organised crime
- Several authors recommend more comprehensive and preventative approaches
- Several authors emphasise the importance of targeting preventative programmes
- Initiatives should involve a broad range of stakeholders: The World Bank (2011) suggests an inclusive coalition of agencies and individuals across governments as well as civil society
- Policies and programmes should be based upon facts and evidence: Basombrío & Dammert (2013) argue that policymakers in Latin America should examine lessons learned from previous successes and failures and take an evidence-based approach in order to implement effective, efficient, and just public policies in their countries.
- Several authors suggest that criminal justice reform is needed in order to tackle organised violence effectively
- The impacts of gang truces in Latin America and the Caribbean are as yet inconclusive
A regional approach is needed: The World Bank (2011) argues that issues relating to organised crime, particularly in the areas of drug trafficking and firearms, transcend boundaries in Latin America and require a coordinated response.