During his most recent foray into Central America, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani presented a plan to El Salvador for combating widespread crime and insecurity. However, doubts about the wisdom and applicability of his recommendations continue to be raised in the region.
On May 4, 2015, Giuliani spoke at the National Conference for Private Business (ENADE) hosted by El Salvador’s national business association (ANEP). During his presentation, he outlined the recommendations of his consulting firm, Giuliani Security & Safety (GSS), reported La Prensa Grafica.
The document reportedly contains 47 proposals, which are centered on three basic principles. These include increasing the use of technology to prevent and combat crime, improving coordination among security institutions and using resources effectively.
One recommendation is to create a system similar to what is known as the CompStat in the United States. Locations and the natures of crimes are entered into a database available to police. They will then be able to track criminal trends in a given area and respond accordingly.
Another key point is to improve the collection and use of scientifically-based evidence in criminal proceedings. This involves increasing the number of security cameras, in order to reduce dependence on eyewitnesses, who are often reluctant to testify for fear of personal safety.
Giuliani said El Salvador’s high violence levels are not “impossible to reduce.” He went on to clarify that none of his recommendations would be effective without true political will on the part of the government to eradicate corruption and to reduce crime.
At the meeting, the president of ANEP, Jorge Daboub, presented the GSS document to President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, who expressed his appreciation and assurance that his government was working towards combating crime. President Ceren announced that his government would soon begin implementing two new laws, one of which involves the rehabilitation of gang members into society.
InSight Crime Analysis
Giuliani’s proposals for improving security and attacking crime in El Salvador comes as violence in the country has been surging. This follows the collapse of a truce between the country’s two major gangs, the MS13 and Barrio 18. In April, 2015 there was an average of 14 homicides per day. That number has increased to 15 for the first four days of May.
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In response, the Salvadoran government has been working towards implementing measures to combat rising instability. President Ceren recently announced the creation of four new battalions to fight crime. The government also proposed its first ever gang rehabilitation law.
It remains to be seen if — and how — the Salvadoran government chooses to integrate Giuliani’s proposals into their security policies. Nonetheless, as InSight Crime has noted previously, doubts remain over the applicability of his security recommendations in Central America.
Giuliani’s recommendations are based on his experience as mayor of New York City and rely on the dubious “broken windows” theory. This approach has been accused of encouraging heavy-handed policing tactics.
Indeed, statements by Giuliani that El Salvador’s gangs “need to be annihilated,” and his recommendation that criminals should receive “extraordinary sentences,” echoes past “mano dura” (iron fist) policies in Central America. However, evidence suggests that the policies have actually been counterproductive at reducing crime.