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Preventing Crime and Violence in Latin America by Reducing Youth Gang Activity

To combat increasing violence related to organized crime, narcotics, arms trafficking, and youth gangs, the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) supported youth services and crime prevention programs.  The Youth Crime and Violence Prevention Technical Support Services (YCVP TSS) Project provided technical support to CARSI through research, conferences, and targeted assistance.
Under YCVP, Chemonics and USAID helped to combat gang-related violence through support services, such as sending subject-matter experts, organizing conferences, and providing communications and administrative support.  Funded through CARSI, the project sought to help break the power and impunity of criminal organizations, improve the capacity of justice systems, strengthen border, air, and maritime controls, curtail gang activity, and diminish the demand for drugs in the region.
 
Honduran Ministry, USAID, and the World Bank speakers at the March 2012 Building Safe Communities conference held in Honduras.YCVP is a component of the “Economic and Social Development Fund” (ESDF) for Central America, which is focused on strengthening justice systems and curtailing gang activity by addressing the underlying economic and social conditions that lead communities to be vulnerable to crime.

The project conducted research in El Salvador and Guatemala on community-based policing as a crime prevention initiative, in Panama and Guatemala on how USAID can use corporate social responsibility to engage strategically with the private sector on crime prevention programs, and in Nicaragua and El Salvador on juvenile justice and alternative sentencing.

The project held two conferences, one in Washington, D.C. and one in Honduras, to bring together stakeholders in youth crime and violence prevention.

Project Results
  • In 2011 the YCVP project produced three white papers on the topics of community-based policing, public-private partnerships, and juvenile justice.
  • The YCVP project held a conference jointly with USAID, the OAS, and the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C. on June 28, 2011 where 350 attendees came together to discuss community policing, public-private partnerships in crime prevention, juvenile justice reform, and media and youth movements.
  • The YCVP project held a conference jointly with USAID, the World Bank, and the Center for the Study of Social Policy in San Pedro Sula, Honduras which assembled over 250 public, private, and NGO leaders from the U.S. and Central America to identify pressing issues, brainstorm solutions and elicit information to aid in the development of strategies that will enhance the capacity of institutions and communities to implement interdisciplinary and inter-institutional crime and violence prevention initiatives. 
Project Duration: 2010 - 2012

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