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Violence in the Dominican Republic: Perceptions Versus the Facts

LADB Article ID: 79312
Category/Department: Dominican Republic
Date: 2014-05-22
By: Crosby Girón

In mid-March, the Dominican press reported that the country’s homicide rate in 2012-2013 had fallen to its lowest point in the past decade: 20 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. The Attorney General’s Office said the number of homicides during that period had decreased by 12.5%. Nevertheless, it remained high with a total of 1,879 murders. A few weeks earlier, the administration of President Danilo Medina had announced a pay raise for the police of between 7% and 13%, depending on rank, as part of a government effort to fight violence, especially given that the Dominican Republic is regarded by criminal organizations as an alternative route for the international transshipment of drugs. Thus, the government has seized on the drop in homicides as evidence that its crime-reduction strategies are working. Nevertheless, the international community remains concerned about the rise of drug trafficking in the Caribbean. John F. Kelly, commander of the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), a US military unit operating in Latin America and based in Florida, said, "We have witnessed an increase in the flow from the West Indies to two regions, one of which is the Dominican Republic".

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