Crime costs Caribbean countries billions

A study undertaken by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) estimates the direct annual cost of crime and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean at US$261 billion or 3.55 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

The IDB said the figure is roughly what the region invests on infrastructure and double the average cost for developed countries.

It is also the equivalent income for 30 per cent of the poorest population, underscoring the grave development impact violence has on the region.

The IDB said the “Costs of Crime and Violence: New Evidence, New Revelations in Latin America and the Caribbean” study is a landmark effort to provide comparable crime costs numbers for 17 countries in the region, benchmarking them against 6 developed countries.

“Crime and violence are at near crisis levels in Latin America and the Caribbean. The region accounts for nine per cent of the world’s population but contributes nearly one-third of its homicide victims, making it the most violent region outside of war zones. Six out of ten robberies in the region involve violence and 90 percent of murders go unresolved. Its prisons are the most overcrowded in the world,” the IDB said.

“Crime has reached alarming levels in many countries,” said Ana María Rodríguez, the manager of the IDB’s Institutions for Development Department.

“By providing estimates of the costs of violence at the regional, sub-regional, and national levels, the study will help governments and international cooperation agencies better allocate resources, as well as design better policies to control and prevent crime.”

Crime-related costs are on average 3.55 per cent of GDP in Latin America, compared with 2.75 per cent in the US, 2.55 per cent in the UK and 1.34 per cent in Germany. If the region brings its crime costs down to the level of developed nations, it could increase its infrastructure investment by 50 per cent.

The study breaks down the costs of crime into three parts.

The social costs include lethal and non-lethal victimization and foregone income of prison populations: 0.64 per cent of GDP. Private spending on security by business and households: 1.37 per cent of GDP and public spending, including the costs to the justice system, spending on police services and spending on prisons: 1.51 per cent of GDP

The estimates are conservative as they include mainly direct costs of crime: public and private spending on security and the social costs. They do not include indirect costs such as changes in behaviour due to fear of crime, or the impacts of crime on the health of persons, the IDB noted.

It said as a percentage of GDP, public spending on crime-related areas in Latin America and the Caribbean is similar to the level in developed economies such as the U.S. and the United Kingdom. However, spending is a much bigger portion of public budgets, and private spending on crime prevention is vastly superior to that in more developed nations, the study shows.

10 Responses to Crime costs Caribbean countries billions

  1. Michael A Clarke
    Michael A Clarke February 5, 2017 at 10:37 am

    So crime does pay contrary to popular belief

    Reply
  2. jrsmith February 5, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Rubbish ,crime , corruption and (Corporate Political Corruption ) is the major cause of all the problems…..
    …………………………………………………………………
    The (IDB ) crime costing ,said the figure is what the region invest on infer-structures ..
    This again is rubbish , look at the region infrastructure , if money was really spent on the infrastructures this in itself would increase employment and add some economics to the domestic market..
    Look at Barbados ,no proper water infrastructure , bad roads no road management, security our island awash with drugs and guns, our coast lines so neglected the only excuse blame it on climate change…sewage in the streets , public buildings in a debilitated state,our only hospital so out dated.. where was this money spent , yet still we are almost broke and in a dam lot of debt…
    AS (Donald Trump ) said, if your country is going to be in severe debt , make sure the infrastructure is good….why is the Government struggling just to patch the man holes why………
    ………………………………………………………………………………
    I am just a ordinary peoples person love my island (Barbados)and my people , my attitude always having lots of money in the bank my immediate family and friends, also help who genuinely needs it.. ( But since 2008 I have no respect for the crooked bankers and untrustworthy financiers plus lots of so call educated ,educators and crooked politicians……..

    Reply
  3. JP Sayers
    JP Sayers February 5, 2017 at 11:11 am

    So many times the head in sand people say… It en suh bad, look at so and so,… Even this won’t educate them …
    [“Crime and violence are at near crisis levels in Latin America and the Caribbean. The region accounts for nine per cent of the world’s population but contributes nearly one-third of its homicide victims, making it the most violent region outside of war zones. Six out of ten robberies in the region involve violence and 90 percent of murders go unresolved. Its prisons are the most overcrowded in the world,” the IDB said.]

    Reply
  4. Jennifer February 5, 2017 at 11:46 am

    @jrsmith – hail hail – blame our politicians.

    Reply
  5. Alex Alleyne February 5, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Who believe that “crime don’t pay” , must also understand that “crime don’t stop”.
    POLITICIANS are the main culprits.

    Reply
  6. Joel C. Payne
    Joel C. Payne February 5, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    IADB love wasting money. For next study. ‘Fire– Is it really hot when it burns?’

    Reply
  7. ian February 5, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    I find this statement quite profound. More elaborate penal systems that will benefit the cooperate sector seems to be the future vision of maintaining order. if you will
    ‘ the study will help governments and international cooperation agencies better allocate resources, as well as design better policies to control and prevent crime.”

    Reply
  8. John Strutton
    John Strutton February 5, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    So frustrating. Tried to get the RBPF to sign up to a crime prevention strategy to deal with a predicted upsurge in crime back in 2010/11, but the then Commissioner (Dottin) just laughed sarcastically, shook his head and said “It won’t happen here…” Cut to 2017 and shootings every other day in Bim. SMH.

    Reply
  9. Joy February 6, 2017 at 1:57 am

    jrsmith clearly did not understand what you read. The report is saying that what crime costs amounts to as much as is spent on infrastructure. Note also that report is for Latin America and the Caribbean and therefore the Spanish speaking countries are included. Countries like Barbados and Antigua would have a minimal impact on the statistics.

    Reply
  10. Joy February 6, 2017 at 1:59 am

    Latin America would include Colombia, Brazil, Mexico etc. Do you understand now why the figure is so high?

    Reply

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