development has led to 80% of the countries’ population living in the cities. Even though urbanization is perceived as a positive development for a country, in South America’s case it has caused the population to be divided into two parts: residential districts and ghettos, also called “favelas”. The huge social and economic difference between those living in the modern districts and the ghettos has created a criminality wave in the favelas. The people there live under difficult financial conditions

Finally, the governments of most of the South American countries do not invest enough on education and improving infrastructure. According to the World Bank, South American countries spent 5% of their GDP for education on average in 2013. Education plays a huge role in every country’s development, as countries like Norway or Finland, which invest a lot on education, have significantly lowered their criminality rates in comparison to the rest of the world. So, by having pure quality in education, South American states deprive their citizens the opportunity to become highly skilled professionals in the future and therefore escape poverty and ameliorate their situation.

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COUNTRIES / ORGANISATIONS INVOLVED

Even though the whole region of South America suffers from criminality, there are certain countries that have the highest rates.

Brazil

Brazil is the country with the most violent cities on the 50 Most Violent Cities in the World list (18 cities). In the country, there is a huge gap in income distribution between the poor and the rich and many cities in Brazil, like Rio de Janeiro, are divided into modern areas, where the rich reside, and favelas, where the poor citizens live. There are 1.000 favelas in Rio de Janeiro and 1.600 in Sao Paolo. Living conditions there are difficult, as the infrastructure is poor, neighborhoods are dirty and houses might not have electricity. Many teenagers, especially boys, that in live Brazilian favelas tend to engage in drug trafficking. There have been numerous conflicts between young gangs and the police, especially during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Venezuela

Venezuela is the most murderous country in South America. The political instability that exists combined with the economic crisis and the food and medicine shortages has caused citizen dissatisfaction that has turned into criminal behavior. Criminal groups engage in conflicts between them, the police, or the government’s opposition. Venezuela has had the highest drop in citizen happiness from 2007 to 2016, making it the world’s most miserable economy.  

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