Crime and Violence in Mexico and Central America: An Evolving but Incomplete U.S. Policy Response
In recent years, Mexico and Central America have experienced dramatic increases in crime and violence. The U.S. government has significantly increased its attention to public security issues in the region since 2007, with the extensive security and economic assistance plan known as the Merida Initiative and the Central American Regional Security Initiative.
Still, major obstacles in Central America, Mexico and the United States have hampered the U.S. policy response. Additionally, U.S. policies remain far more developed in relation to Mexico than to the Central American countries.
The authors suggest the policy emphasis has begun to shift in important ways, with more attention paid to addressing the citizen security crisis — a move away from the earlier focus on combating drug trafficking and transnational crime. But there is still much room to grow and develop a more coherent policy response that ultimately helps establish the state as the sole guarantor of public security.
I. The Dynamics of Rising Crime and Violence
II. U.S. Policy Responses
III. Shortcomings and Opportunities