Model Precinct Shows 40% Drop in Homicides
During her visit to El Salvador this week, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Maria Otero, visited the town of Lourdes, Colon to learn how local police, working under the U.S. Model Precinct Program, had lowered the city’s homicide rate by 40 percent between 2010 and 2011.
In 2009, Lourdes was one of the four most violent communities in El Salvador. The Department of State launched its Model Precinct Program in Lourdes in an effort to turn the tide in one of the country’s most crime-ridden communities. Goals of the program include reducing gang-related crime and violence through a community-based policing model, which aims to increase public engagement in the law enforcement process and train police officers in modern patrol and investigation skills.
While in Lourdes, Under Secretary Otero met with student participants of the Gang Resistance Education and Training, or GREAT, program. GREAT is a gang and violence prevention program built around school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curricula. The program is intended as an immunization against delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership for children in the years immediately before the prime ages for introduction into gangs and delinquent behavior.
Citizens in Lourdes are seeing their personal security improve and are building better relationships with the police helping to bring about change in their communities.
For more information about this and other security-related initiatives under the Partnership for Growth, see http://sansalvador.usembassy.gov/pfg/security.html.