The present report studies the dynamics of crime and violence in the region: their causes, characteristics and rationale, as well as the policies designed to combat them. Rather than being a homogeneous phenomenon throughout the region, violence and crime rates vary drastically between States and even more at the subnational level. Small municipalities account for the majority of offenses committed in the whole region. Gender and age determine as well the probability of engaging in criminal/violent activities (or being a victim of them): were young, male citizens find themselves into the most vulnerable populations. Contrary to the common thinking, poverty per se doesn’t lead to higher rates of violence and/or crime. On the contrary, economic development at a certain point increases the benefits for offenders to engage in criminal activities. Studies show that policies focused on reactive response to criminal activities and to the augmentation of incarcerated population are ineffective and sometimes could backfire. Instead, comprehensive policies that understand the heterogeneous and complex nature of crime by focusing on prevention, often show better results.