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Live Q&A: How Can Development Solutions Bring Down High Crime Rates?

The SecDev Foundation’s Director of Policy and Research, Robert Muggah, will participate in The Guardian’s live chat on how development solutions can bring down high crime rates in the world’s most dangerous cities. The expert panel will be held on Thursday June 25th from 1-3 PM BST.


Homicide rates in Latin America are higher than fatality rates in some of the world’s worst war zones. In May this year, Brazilian thinktank Igarape Institute launched the Homicide Monitor, an online tool collating country-by-country statistics on homicides from a range of sources. “Making information available about homicide is the first step towards doing something about it,” says research director Robert Muggah.

Violence hold countries back in many respects, so how can development organisations tackle this complex issue? In Colombia the mayor of Cali, Dr Rodrigo Guerrero, developed an innovative data-led approach towards crime which saw a dramatic drop in homicide rates, from 80 per 100,000 in the 1990s to just 16 per 100,000 in 2012 in Bogota.

Guerrero found a root cause of gang crime to be groups of friends hanging around in the neighbourhood with no money, who are susceptible to criminals offering quick cash. So social intervention is important, but what programmes work best? How can you tackle violence in cities where the police are untrustworthy? And where do you start when violence is deeply entrenched, as in the world’s most dangerous cities?

Join an expert panel on Thursday 25 June, 1-3pm BST, to discuss these questions and more.

The panel

Robert Muggah, research director of Igarapé Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the SecDev Foundation, Canada @igarape_org

Robert Muggah directs research at the Igarapé Institute, a think and do tank working at the interface of security and development. He is also research director of the SecDev Foundation, a cyber-security group. He has led studies in over 40 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas and gave talks on fragile cities and organised crime at TED Global, the Web Summit and the World Economic Forum. He received his PhD from the University of Oxford.

John de Boer, senior policy adviser, United Nations University, Centre for Policy Research, Tokyo, Japan @JdeBoerUNU
John is an expert on development, humanitarian, and security challenges in situations of conflict and violence. He leads research on urban violence, urban disaster, and organised crime.

Iain Overton, author, Gun Baby Gun, London@iainoverton
Iain is a writer, filmmaker and campaigner. He is director of investigations at the charity, Action on Armed Violence.

Damian Platt, researcher, activist and author, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil @DamianPlatt
Damian has been working with human rights protection and violence reduction since 1997. He worked on Amnesty International’s Brazil desk from 1997-2005.

Natasha Leite de Moura, project adviser, public security programme, United Nations, Lima, Peru @natashaleite
Natasha has worked on citizen security and youth violence prevention programmes at the UN for the last ten years at a Latin American and Caribbean regional level and nationally in Angola, Belize, Brazil, Mozambique and the Maldives.

Venessa Padayachee, national advocacy and lobbying manager, Nicro, Cape town, South Africa @NICRO_
Vanessa is a social worker with an MA in Criminology. She has worked for Nicro for 20 years.

Elizabeth Leeds, honorary president, Brazilian Forum for Public Safety, Boston, USA
After a long career working on housing and public safety issues in Brazil, Elizabeth co-founded the Brazilian Forum for Public Safety, based in São Paulo. She is also a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America.

The live chat is not video or audio-enabled but will take place in the comments section. Get in touch via [email protected] or @GuardianGDP on Twitter to recommend someone for our expert panel. Follow the discussion using the hashtag #globaldevlive.

Header Image Credit: Antonio Scorza / Shutterstock.com

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