How Insecurity Shapes Daily Life in Central America


Event Summary This event has passed.

A new report from the Inter-American Dialogue and the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) finds that crime avoidance is widespread across Central America, especially in the Northern Triangle. Just under half of adults avoid leaving the house at night for fear of crime. Over half have avoided making purchases for fear they will be stolen. 18 percent feel a need to move neighborhoods because of crime. One in three adults has considered emigrating because of insecurity. These and other findings show how crime avoidance influences everyday behaviors and has significant consequences for education, economic opportunity, development, and the rule of law—and help explain why intentions to migrate have risen sharply in every Central American country. At the same time, these findings can potentially point the way forward for policymakers hoping to limit the secondary impacts of insecurity in Central America. 

The Dialogue and LAPOP are pleased to present this new report (to be released at the event) and this discussion of the cost of crime, the implications for security policies and US foreign policy, and how a better understanding of insecurity can help improve the situation.

Follow this event on Twitter at #LAPOPDialogue@Lapop_Barometro and @The_Dialogue.


Elizabeth J. Zechmeister

Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science,
Vanderbilt University; Director, LAPOP

Carole J. Wilson

Senior Data Analyst and Researcher, LAPOP

Michael Camilleri

Director, Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program,
Inter-American Dialogue (


Juan Gonzalez

Associate Vice President, Cohen Group; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central America and the Caribbean


Michael Shifter

President, Inter-American Dialogue (@MichaelShifter)