HomeAbout InSight Crime

About InSight Crime


InSight Crime’s objective is to increase the level of research, analysis and investigation on organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean, and to raise the level of debate about government efforts to combat it. To this end, InSight Crime has created this website where it connects the pieces, the players and organizations and gives a cohesive look of the region’s criminal enterprises and the effectiveness of the initiatives designed to stop them. InSight Crime’s staff and contributors also write analysis and do field investigations, providing on-the-ground research.

InSight Crime launched its website December 1, 2010, with profiles on groups, personalities, and security initiatives in Mexico and Colombia. It is now creating profiles of other nations, groups, personalities and security initiatives of  across the region  to give the most complete, up-to-date picture on organized crime in the region.

InSight Crime began in April 2010 with funding from the Open Society Foundations. In August, American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) became a sponsor and additional host to the project.

In May 2012, the organization legally and formally constituted the Fundacion InSight Crime, an independent research institution with headquarters in Medellin, Colombia. It currently has offices in Medellin, Colombia, and at American University in Washington DC.


Edificio Meridian, Calle 5A #43B-25, Office 803

Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia


InSight Consultancy

In an effort to help finance both field investigations and the core project of providing quality, in-depth information to the public on these matters, InSight Crime produces special reports for both the public and the private sectors on the dynamics of conflict and organized crime, and their effects on society, government, and business. InSight Crime has completed investigative projects in Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. We conduct field investigations, providing detailed on-the-ground research and analysis. Our combined academic, journalistic and military expertise gives us a unique and comprehensive perspective. InSight Crime chooses its clients based on their strong records of respecting human rights and the environment, and strictly adhering to worldwide ethical standards and practices in conflict zones.

InSight Crime also does workshops for journalists and non-governmental organizations in the region on topics ranging from investigative reporting in the field, to how to cover elections, to techniques of investigating organized crime on the web.

If you are interested in seeing examples of InSight Crime’s work or contracting the organization, please contact us.

Research Internships

InSight Crime offers unpaid research internships on a rolling basis. Applicants are expected to demonstrate an interest and familiarity with the subject matter. Interns contribute directly to analysis and investigative projects in addition to basic site maintenance. While our internship program is fairly flexible and we encourage interns to work remotely, it requires a commitment of at least 10-15 hours a week, for periods of no less than three months.

Applicants must have obtained or be working towards an advanced degree in political science, history, criminal justice, international journalism or Latin American studies and are expected to speak and read Spanish or Portuguese.

To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to: info@insightcrime.org


Steven Dudley, Director/ Head of Research Mexico, Central America and Caribbean: In addition to his work with InSight Crime, Dudley is a senior fellow at American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies in Washington DC. He is the former Bureau Chief of The Miami Herald in the Andean Region and the author of “Walking Ghosts: Murder and Guerrilla Politics in Colombia” (Routledge 2004). Dudley has also reported from Haiti, Brazil, Nicaragua, Cuba and Miami for National Public Radio and The Washington Post, among others. Dudley has a BA in Latin American History from Cornell University and an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He was awarded the Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 2007, is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and was a visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in 2012 – 2013. Contact

Jeremy McDermott, Director/Head of Research Colombia and South America: McDermott has 15 years experience reporting from around Latin America. He is a former British Army officer, who saw active service in Northern Ireland and Bosnia. Upon retiring from the military he became a war correspondent, covering the Balkans, based in Bosnia, then moving to Beirut to work throughout the Middle East, before finally settling in Colombia from where he travels extensively through Latin America. He previously worked as the BBC’s Colombia Correspondent, Latin America Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and Jane’s Intelligence Review, specializing in drug trafficking, organized crime and the Colombian civil conflict. He has an MA from the University of Edinburgh. Contact


Adriana Castillo Avila, Chief Operating Officer: Castillo has a degree in Economics (2001) and an MA in Government and Public Policy from the Universidad Externado de Colombia (2009).  She has worked for Colombia’s Presidential Agency for Social Action as an advisor for Familias en Accion. She has worked for InSight Crime since 2012.

Marguerite Cawley, Development Officer: Cawley is a graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio (2010), where she received a degree in politics with a concentration in international studies. She has worked for InSight Crime since January 2013.

Charles Parkinson, English website editor: Parkinson is a 2005 graduate of the University of Nottingham where he studied American Studies. He has been based in Colombia since January 2012 and has worked for InSight Crime since August 2013.

Daniela Castro Romero, Spanish website editor: Daniela Castro is a graduate of the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota (2012), where she studied political science. She has worked for InSight Crime since 2012.

Patrick Corcoran, Researcher/Writer: Corcoran is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and an MA candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He has worked for InSight Crime since 2011. He also has a blog: Gancho. Contact

James Bargent, Researcher/Writer: Bargent is a journalist who has worked for InSight Crime since 2012. More samples of his work can be seen at https://jamesbargent.com/.

Miriam Wells, Researcher/Writer: Wells is a journalist who has previously worked for BBC Radio News and for Human Rights Watch. She has worked for InSight Crime since 2012. More samples of her work can be seen at https://www.miriamwells.com/.

Dudley Althaus, Researcher/Writer: An Ohio native, Dudley Althaus earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. He has spent most of his journalism career covering Mexico and Latin America as a staff correspondent for Texas newspapers, including 22 years with the Houston Chronicle. Althaus’ work has garnered a Robert F. Kennedy Prize for international reporting and a Maria Moors Cabot Prize for coverage of Latin America. He has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Javier Melendez, Senior Fellow: A Nicaraguan national, Melendez founded the Instituto de Estudios Estrategicos y Politicas Publicas (IEEPP) in Nicaragua. He is currently based in Washington DC where he focuses on security issues in Central America and coordinates an InSight Crime-led joint project studying elites and organized crime, which is financed by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). He joined InSight Crime in 2012. Contact

Simeon Rizo, Financial Advisor: A Nicaraguan national, Rizo was a deputy director of IEEPP and served as a senior advisor for several Nicaraguan ministers. He has an MBA from the Catholic University in Chile and is assisting on the InSight Crime – IDRC study on elites and organized crime. He has worked with InSight Crime since 2012. Contact

American University | The Center for Latin American and Latino Studies

The Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University in Washington, DC, engages scholars and practitioners to promote cutting-edge research to enrich understanding of Latin America and of Latino communities in the U.S. Contact

Research: Creating and disseminating knowledge is at the core of the Center’s scholarly and institutional agenda. CLALS supports collaborative research projects organized around five thematic clusters: development & inequality; democracy & justice; cultures creativity; environment society; and hemispheric relations.

Research Clusters

Current Projects

Country Initiatives

Training: CLALS is committed to advancing American University’s primary goal of ensuring the highest quality training for our students, offering extensive coursework in Latin American and Latino Studies and specific degree and certificate programs around these topics.

Degree & Certificate Programs

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Partnerships: In designing and implementing projects, CLALS establishes dynamic partnerships with academic institutions, think tanks, non-governmental and community organizations, and governmental and international agencies throughout the United States and Latin America. Center projects are supported through funding from extramural donors and agencies as well as by University resources.

Academic Institutions

NGOs, Community Organizations Think Tanks

Governmental Intergovernmental Agencies

InSight Crime Board of Directors

Eric Hershberg, Director CLALS: Eric Hershberg is Director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies and Professor of Government at American University. From 2007-2009 he was Professor of Political Science and Director of Latin American Studies at Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, Canada. He received his Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has taught at New York University, Southern Illinois University, Columbia, Princeton and the New School. Prior to arriving at SFU he served for fifteen years as a Program Director at the Social Science Research Council in New York City.

His research focuses on the comparative politics of Latin America, and on the politics of development. Current research projects analyze the state of democracy in South America, social sector reforms in the Andean region and conflicts over accountability for human rights abuses under military regimes in the Southern Cone countries. He has served as a consultant to numerous development and educational agencies, including the Ford Foundation, the World Bank and the Swedish International Development Agency.


PhD, Political Science University of Wisconsin-Madison
MA, Political Science University of Wisconsin-Madison
BA Spanish and French, Indiana University

Alejandro Hope, Director of Security, IMCO: Hope is the Director of Security at the Instituto Mexicano para La Competitividad (IMCO). Prior to his current position, Hope served various management positions at the Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN) between 2008 and 2011. Between 2001 and 2008, he worked as a consulting partner at Group of Economists and Associates (GEA), a consulting firm specializing in economic and political analysis. He has a degree in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania and is a Ph.D. candidate in the same subject.

Arlene Tickner, Universidad de los Andes: Arlene Tickner is a professor of International Relations at the Political Science Department of the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, where she has worked since 1991. Her research focuses on Colombian foreign relations,  US-Colombia relations, hemispheric and Andean security, and the sociology of knowledge in the field of International Relations. She a columnist at Colombian newspaper El Espectador and a regular panelist on Caracol Radio’s political analysis show, “Hora 20.”


Ph.D. International Relations, University of Miami, 2000
MA, Latin American Studies, Georgetown University, 1990
BA, Middlebury College, Mathematics and Spanish, 1986

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

About InSight Crime


Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…


We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.


InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area


Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…


InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…


InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …