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Highlight: Researchers share findings on making Latin American cities safer


Latin American researchers supported by IDRC's Safe and Inclusive Cities (SAIC) initiative were hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars and American University's Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at a May 2015 event in Washington, DC.​

Findings from three projects were presented. Researchers Juan Pablo Pérez Sáinz, Hugo Frúhling, and Roberto Briceño-Léon shared insights into what is making cities like Caracas, Venezuela, and San Salvador, El Salvador, unsafe for residents and offered suggestions as to how to reduce violence.

Their answers reveal similarities and differences across the six countries under study. In Costa Rica and El Salvador, research reveals the importance of whether and how community members respond to violence and the dual role that Salvadoren youth gangs play as both protectors and threats. Venezuelan researchers show how social pacts among community members — often women — are helping to reduce violence in some of the country's most dangerous cities. By comparing and analyzing data from Chile, Colombia, and Peru, investigators are unpacking the influence that different security policies are having on community-level safety in Santiago, Bogota, and Lima.

To learn more about these projects and their findings, read the presentations from the event:

  • Exclusion, Violence, and Community Responses in Central American Cities: Guiding policy by explaining variation, by Juan Pablo Pérez Sáinz (FLACSO-Costa Rica)
  • Critical Vision of Security Governance in Three Latin American Capitals, by Hugo Frúhling (Universidad de Chile)
  • Ciudades Seguras e Incluyentes en Venezuela [Safe and Inclusive Cities in Venezuela; presentation in English], by Roberto Briceño-Léon (LACSO)
  • Safe and Inclusive Cities: Research to Reduce Urban Violence, Poverty, and Inequalities, by Jennifer Salahub (IDRC)

Further details are available on the project web pages:

Exclusion, violence and community responses in Central American Cities

Institutions for safe and inclusive cities in Venezuela

Violence in three Latin American cities: A comparative study between Bogota, Lima and Santiago

Safe and Inclusive Cities is a joint initiative of IDRC and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development. The program seeks to understand the drivers of urban violence, poverty, and inequalities while identifying what works — and what doesn't — to prevent and reduce violence in urban centres.