Panama does not stop fighting crime and creates new strategy

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública
  • Ministerio de Seguridad Pública

In order to reduce crime rates, Panama presented the new government strategy on citizen security with a view to achieving what was planned.

It is an ambitious project both socially and economically, with the participation of national and international entities.

From the interior of the Republic, the strategy was addressed by the Ministry of Security and the Panamanian Integral Security Office, with the valuable collaboration of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

What makes the plan innovative, which will be valid until 2030, is the inclusive, participatory and integration aspect that is made to the communities.

According to official rates, security statistics have shown a downward trend; however, how the citizen assimilates it does not reflect this situation. This was indicated by the 5thVictimization Survey and the Citizen Security Index, corresponding to 2017, published in March of this year. According to the study, 82% of the population perceives Panama as an unsafe country.

Given this duality, Hernán Morales, executive director of the Panamanian Integral Security Office, said during the presentation of the project, that this antagonism is just the starting point of why today we are looking to join society and companies. He said that Panama has lowered the homicide rate from 16 to 9 victims out of 100,000 inhabitants in the last five years, which "makes it one of the safest countries in the region. The perception is not like that".

For the design of the new security strategy 2018-2030, the EU donated some 32 million executable dollars between 2015 and 2019, while about 1 million dollars will be allocated for its implementation.

The people responsible for presenting the project were Alexis Bethancourt, Minister of Security; Business Manager of the European Union (EU) in Panama Giovanni Di Girolamo; deputy resident representative of UNDP Fernando Hiraldo, and executive director of the Panamanian Integral Security Office Hernán Morales.

"It is an examination (also) of everything that has been done in the past, the good lessons learned, the aspects that have to be modified, in a positive way (...) that gathers what people see, that can be sustained from one government to another (...) and it is intended to be a State policy ", said Ambassador Di Girolamo.

The representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) explained that it will be developed "from prevention, care and rehabilitation" of both the victim and the offender.

"It's about not leaving anyone behind," particularly the most vulnerable groups such as indigenous people, women and youth, said the deputy resident representative of UNDP, Fernando Hiraldo, who also explained that the strategy is linked to the Central American environment, where Panama stands out for its low rates of violence despite the perception is different.

Alexis Bethancourt, Minister of Security, highlighted that "in this strategy, in addition to those fundamental parameters such as the incidence of homicides, many other indicators have been incorporated, such as violence against women."

For the security strategy to become legal regulations, it must be discussed in the Cabinet Council and subsequently be proposed as a law so that its execution becomes a State policy.

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