According to the 2013-2014 Regional Human Development Report, the region experienced both economic growth and increased crime rates over the past decade, with more than 100,000 murders per year during that time.

While homicide rates stabilized and even fell in some of the Latin American countries, the perception of security worsened with robberies hiking threefold in the past 25 years, the report said.

It focused on six main overlapping threats impacting the region - street crime, violence and crime committed by and against youth, gender-based violence, corruption, and violence committed by state actors, and organized crime.

"While some threats, such as organized crime, especially drug trafficking are often used to explain insecurity, the regional, national and local dynamics are much more diverse," the lead author, Rafael Fernandez de Castro, said.

One of the main lessons drawn from Latin America is that the "iron fist" policies do not work, strong police and criminal repression in the region have often coincided with high crime rates, according to the report.

It also pointed out that to reduce citizen insecurity, the most effective way is improving people's lives, boosting inclusive economic growth and enhancing security and justice institutions.

Among other findings, the report said young men are the most affected by crime and violence, and yet are the most common perpetrators.

(Agencies)

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