ue to its relatively strong growth over the past years, Latin America has made some advancement as a whole in social inclusion, as well as in the fight against crime, in certain countries, leading to an improvement in public security. Growth slowed somewhat in 2012 and, at the beginning of 2013, lagged behind other emerging markets. However, growth in Latin America still is ahead of the developed world, and the region is more stable now than it has been in many decades.
Drug trafficking and the cartels that spring from such activity continue to wreak havoc on a number of Central American countries, as well as on Mexico. This is not expected to change in the short term, although it appears President Enrique Peña Nieto will try to apply new strategies to attack the problem that should lower the level of overall cartel-related violence in the country. Political instability, another problem that historically has plagued the region, has dropped significantly over the past several years and currently is not a major factor in public insecurity in most Latin American countries.
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All rankings are from 1 to 5 by FTI Consulting Ibero America, 1 representing a safe country and 5 representing a very dangerous country. An upward arrow means public insecurity is increasing, zigzag means public security is fairly stable but change possible and a flat line means public security is stable. The ratings are based on official numbers from public security secretariats, local police, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and institutes of crime investigations.