San José, May 2017. Violent events in broad daylight, such as those that occurred this week in Escazú, leave the country with great concern and seeking for answers. Despite the crucial intervention of the Ministry of Public Security and other authorities, without an approach that attacks the roots of violence, such as the one that has been developing with the Young Action Foundation (FAJ) through its 10 years working in vulnerable areas, the violence we live in will continue to grow.
According to data from the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ), 2016 closed with 577 homicides nationwide, which represents a rate of 11.8 murders per 100,000 inhabitants and shows an increase in violence compared to the rate of the previous years.
"This problem requires us to present a proactive response. During these situations, there is often a temptation to ask the authorities for repressive actions-more police officers, tougher sentences for those who offend the law, and more private security. It is intriguing to think that we will be safer as well. The Public Force, the OIJ, the Judiciary and other authorities play a critical role, especially in responding to organized crime problems, but if we do not address the roots of violence - social exclusion, unemployment, and lack of opportunities in the area that is vulnerable - we're just going to be putting on a patch instead of reducing or preventing current and future violence, "voices Anna Zimbrick, Executive Director of Fundación Acción Joven.
59.2% of young people between the ages of 17 and 21 do not complete high school, and a total of 172,136 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 do not study or work. These are some of the statistics that reveal the great urgency of providing youth with quality opportunities to prevent them from engaging in illicit activities.
"From other countries in Central America, Mexico and the US, we should learn that hard-hitting policies do not solve problems of violence. We, the government, and schools fight violence with education and more opportunities for improvement, "added Zimbrick.
The FAJ Juvenile Violence Prevention Program, implemented in Puntarenas and Limón thanks to the support of the US Embassy, APM Terminal, Hilton Hotel and other allies, works closely with vulnerable youth to prevent student exclusion and prevent access to criminal circles, drugs and abuse.
It is through this process that young people outside the educational system, break the mold and develop leadership skills, vision of entrepreneurship, psychological support, treatment of addictions and employability profile; to become more empathetic people capable of solving their differences through dialogue.
National Household Survey 2016
II Continuing Employment Survey 2016