Latin America has some of the highest homicide rates in the world, several times above ‘epidemic’ levels. The statistics are indisputable — but what does this say in practical terms about insecurity for the public at large and for business across the region? The perception of insecurity is, in a number of cases, highest where the homicide rates are among the lowest. Why? This special paper examines the adequacy of the indicators most commonly used to measure insecurity and the broadening scope of the search for causes. It delves into the available evidence on the impact of insecurity on investment and the conduct of business. It also reviews recent changes — positive as well as negative — in the situations of individual countries and the reasons offered for them.
Eduardo Crawley has written several books and essays on Latin American politics and history. His experience and knowledge of Latin American politics - including the personalities involved - is unrivalled. For 20 years he was editor of Latin American Newsletters, with personal responsibility for our flagship publication, Latin American Weekly Report. Since 2003 he has been editor of our monthly Latin American Security and Strategic Review and co-Editor of our bi-monthly Latin American Special Reports. Before joining Latin American Newsletters in 1982, Eduardo was one of the editors of The Economist’s Latin American edition, Economics editor of the Argentine newspaper La Opinión, editor of the inter-American magazine Visión and managing editor of South magazine.