Citizens deserve the right to live free of violence, and free of the threat of violence in times of peace. With this in mind, this afternoon featured a session on improving public safety in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Panelists discussed this topic in the context of regional security and cooperation, building upon earlier discussions about combating organized crime and transnational criminal networks and enhancing border security.
USAID noted that violence concentrates geographically and demographically due to common root causes like social exclusion, poverty, and unemployment. USAID recommended treating violence the same as public health—by targeting key drivers and root causes.
Law enforcement was also identified as a key to reducing violence, which is why strategies to professionalize police forces and root out corruption were a frequent topic of conversation, as was community policing.
Delegates from Mexico, Columbia, Honduras and the United States shared lessons learned through their anti-violence campaigns. For example, Mexico stressed the need to collect and analyze data, such as which streets are more likely to have car thefts, in order to in order to effectively target criminal activities.
The panelists concluded that cooperation and consensus—between the community, law enforcement, community leaders, government, and the private sector—strengthened citizen security. More secure citizens lead to stronger communities, and safer nations, in Central America and beyond.