The U.S. government is reaching out to the private sector for help in implementing a new municipal crime-prevention program across the nation -- across the nation of El Salvador, that is.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) estimates just a $25 million price tag for the "El Salvador Crime and Violence Prevention Project" (Solicitation #SOL-519-12-000002); it should be noted, however, that the endeavor is only the latest in a series of such multi-year, U.S.- funded initiatives in El Salvador, which the agency says has "one of the highest rates of non-political violence in the world."
In the last four years, USAID has funded three key prevention programs: Crime and Violence Prevention Project (CVPP), currently being implemented by Research Triangle Institute International; the Regional Youth Alliance Project (AJR), currently being implemented by Creative Associates; and, Strengthening the Judicial System project implemented by Checchi Consulting. Together, these programs have supported the [Government of El Salvador] (GOES) as it improves the capacity of municipal government, civil society and communities to: better analyze crime patterns; plan and implement activities to combat crime and violence; and, measure the impact of interventions.
The selected contractor will be tasked with exploring "the greater use of science and technology to target crime and violence prevention" as well as employing "creative responses and approaches in order to achieve the desired results," according to the Statement of Work (SOW).
Among the results desired for this Central American nation is modifying its Mano Dura, or "Iron Fist," approach to contending with gang violence. USAID says this approach alone will not solve the problem, as heightened investments in law enforcement have taken away from national investments into economic growth. Likewise, according to the SOW:
The root causes of violence and gang activity are largely understood to include income disparity and issues of significant social inequality... Additional sources of insecurity include limited employment and education opportunities, large numbers of readily available small arms, rapid and disorganized urban growth without adequate services, and lack of societal support to prevent at risk youth from being recruited into gangs.
USAID expects to award a three-year base contract with two possible option years.
FOR RELATED COVERAGE, SEE U.S.TRADE & AID MONITOR'S LAW ENFORCEMENT/POLICE ISSUES PAGE.
FOR ADDITIONAL REPORTING ON THE U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, SEE THE MONITOR'S USAID PAGE.
(Image caption: MS-13 gang graffiti in San Salvador.)