30, June, 2016
REGIONAL EVIDENCE PAPER

Social Capital, Collective Efficacy and Community Based Crime Prevention in El Salvador

This paper seeks to explore the extent to which crime and violence prevention initiatives that promote social capital and collective efficacy are successful in reducing crime and violence in Latin America, more specifically through a case study of El Salvador.

Some of the latest efforts to prevent crime in Latin America propose to strengthen social capital and social cohesion in order to reduce risk factors and fear of crime. That is based on studies conducted mostly in the United States and in Europe over the past 30 years. The use of this conceptual framework to carry out empirical studies in Latin America has been very limited; in fact there have been only a few studies in this vein conducted in recent years, in countries such as Mexico and Colombia. There is still plenty of room to explore and contribute to this important debate with more studies conducted in Latin America.

We are interested in exploring the extent to which crime and violence prevention initiatives that promote social capital and collective efficacy are successful in reducing crime and violence in Latin America, more specifically through a case study of El Salvador.

The CBCP projects analyzed for this study show that due to the magnitude of crime and violence in the country, focused their interventions on four components: (i) Recovery, homogenization and invigoration of public spaces, (ii) non-traditional conflict resolution mechanisms, (iii) the reduction of risk factors in youth care programmes in schools, and (iv) the promotion of vocational training and employment opportunities for at-risk youth; all with the purpose of strengthening social capital and social cohesion, and reduce crime and fear of crime at the community level.

AUTHORS:
Ricardo Córdova Macías
Alan E. Melara
Estela Armijo

The authors of this research work at FundaUngo, El Salvador.

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