Treating violence like a disease helped cut Colombia’s murder rate by 82%

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Many people today still associate Colombia with drugs, gangs and danger. But things are changing in the Latin American country: in 25 years, the murder rate has plummeted by 82%.

The decline of violence is in part thanks to historical political shifts. But the cartels and insurgencies weren’t the only factors driving the killing: high levels of income inequality, rapid urbanisation, drug and alcohol abuse and gender inequality all contributed.

Colombia took on these issues by investing in a new approach that treated violence as a public health problem – a disease like any other that needs to be tackled at the root. That meant a focus on prevention using a range of public services, not just repression by law enforcement. City mayors in Cali, Bogotá and Medellín were inspired by data-based, research-driven methods that have long been standard among public health professionals.

So, how did it work, and what can the rest of the world learn from Colombia’s path the peace?

Read the full article about the Colombian way to tackle violence.

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