Belize City Community Gang Assessment

Young, Michelle
Sep 2019
A new diagnosis of gang activity in Belize City, sponsored by the government of Belize and undertaken with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank, reveals issues of significant concern not only for Belize, but also for the Latin American and Caribbean region as a whole. Gang violence has dramatically increased with increased gang access to guns; the risk factors for gang involvement show broader and deeper risk exposure, expanding the pool of youth vulnerable to gang recruitment; and these developments have exposed the weaknesses of government responses to the gang problem, highlighting the need for a sustained and coordinated response across agencies. The assessment explores three years of violent crime incident reports; local demographic data; interviews with current and former gang members; interviews with key leaders and professionals who regularly interact with gang members; surveys of youth, community residents, and community leaders; surveys and focus groups with teachers, youth-serving professionals, and parents; and school performance data. It concludes with broad recommendations for future strategies and activities to reduce gang-related violence in Belize City.