Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Ask the Experts: Trafficking and Transnational Crime

How can communities and policymakers best protect citizens and take back communities?

Sérgio Cabral Answers:

Over the last decades, the State of Rio de Janeiro has experienced a significant downturn in public security. Lack of investment, under-trained law enforcement personnel and constant struggles between the federal and state government contributed to the escalation of violence and crime rates. But since the beginning of 2007, we have been working very hard to change this sad reality.

My staff developed a long-term plan for the next 10 years based on four pillars—all aimed at tackling both the effects and the root causes of criminality.

The first pillar entails rebuilding the permanent staff of the military police. Since the 1980s, state laws have restricted the total number of officers to 37,000, but in 2009, we received approval to raise the ceiling to 60,000 policemen. The second pillar focuses on new technology investment. The government intelligence center, a legacy of the 2007 Pan-American Games, is being redesigned as an Integrated Command and Control Center (C4i), inspired by models adopted in cities such as Madrid and New York. With an investment of over $25 million, the C4i will bring together eight departments operating at the city, state and federal levels, including police, firefighters, civil defense, and health de
partments. In addition, last year we inaugurated the most modern forensic laboratory in Latin America…

Genaro García Luna Answers:

The Mexican government continues to wage a difficult and far-reaching battle against drug cartels and other organized crime groups. The administration of President Felipe Calderón has enacted a multi-pronged strategy to disrupt and break up organized crime entities, capture the individuals that operate them and build and strengthen law enforcement institutions. These actions, which have received less attention in the media than the campaign against organized crime, are vitally important to Mexico’s future.

A trustworthy, efficient justice and security system—that includes all law enforcement institutions—is a precondition for nurturing Mexican democracy and providing citizens with a safe and stable future. And although we have some notable achievements, such as rebuilding the Federal Police, there is no denying the hard reality that creating a modern law-enforcement force is a work-in-progress…

General Douglas Fraser Answers:

Security requires a “whole government” approach where government institutions are strengthened, the rule of law is respected and human rights are defended. When citizens feel secure, everyone gains; when they don’t, only the powerful gain. Colombia is an example of how security requires the commitment of policymakers and citizens alike.

In 2002, Colombians came together to reclaim their communities from narco-terrorist insurgents. At the peak of its strength, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) governed an area roughly the size of Switzerland…

 

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