Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Central American crime is a growing U.S. problem

Central America has the highest crime rates in the world, with the Caribbean and South America following close behind. The country with the highest rate of homicides per year is El Salvador, with other neighbouring countries next. Of a population of 100000 inhabitants, El Salvador has a rate of 68 killings per year.

These criminal tendencies are also posing a problem to the United States. People with criminal records from Central America enter the U.S. illegally and continue their habits there. This has contributed to the increase in deportations of undocumented immigrants. What is more problematic is that these people often return illegally to the U.S. later on.

The El Salvadoran Security and Justice Minister says that these people will start to make fast money through criminal activities as soon as they arrive in El Salvador. Such activities include robberies, drugs, or kidnappings. With these money they can make it back to the U.S. again. The problem is worsening due to the gang members outnumbering the police forces in some of these countries.

The cost of these crimes are estimated to 6,5 billion dollars a year. For a relatively poor region like Central America this is damaging to development, and hampers effective measures to reduce the criminal activities. Consequently, the number of such people entering the U.S. illegally is not likely to go down. The solution of this may be found in education and crime prevention programs.

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