Confronting violence in urban settings

Enrique Betancourt shares how to end and prevent violence in urban contexts.

Enrique Betancourt is no stranger to working in violent urban contexts.

When the murder rate in Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican city bordering the Unites State, was skyrocketing, and with the drug war in full force, President Felipe Calderón sent a team in to help stop the violence. Betancourt, an official in the Mexican government’s Ministry of Urban Development, was one of them.

Trained in architecture and urban design, he learned that peacebuilding in cities requires understanding their “ecology” and targeting places, behaviors, demographics as well as times of the year and times of the week.

After witnessing a drop in Cuidad Juarez’s murder rate, Betancourt joined the President’s Office and eventually became the executive director for the National Center for Crime Prevention.

After the end of the Calderon administration, Betancourt went on to become a Yale World Fellow and is now director of the Violence and Crime Prevention Initiative at Chemonics.

Conflict in Context is a monthlong global conversation on conflict, transition and recovery hosted by Devex in partnership with Chemonics, Cordaid, Mercy Corps , OSCE and USAID. We’ll decode the challenges and highlight the opportunities countries face while in crisis and what the development community is doing to respond. Visit the campaign site and join the conversation using #ConflictinContext.

About the author

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    Jeff Tyson

    Jeff is a former global development reporter for Devex. Based in Washington, D.C., he covers multilateral affairs, U.S. aid, and international development trends. He has worked with human rights organizations in both Senegal and the U.S., and prior to joining Devex worked as a production assistant at National Public Radio. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and French from the University of Rochester.

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