Posted on 21 Jun 2021
Extortion is one of the main crimes that negatively affect citizen security in the Northern Triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) and, to a lesser extent, Costa Rica and Panama.
Given the widespread presence of this crime in the region, the availability, relevance and reliability of data on extortion are essential to understand its magnitude, as well as to develop evidence-based public policies to contain it and build community resilience. However, unlike for other crimes such as homicides, public institutions in the countries of the region have not yet developed a speciﬁc methodology to collect, produce and disseminate up-to-date, reliable, relevant and high-quality data on extortion. This shortcoming hampers the analysis and research needed to measure the real magnitude of this crime and to generate evidence-based public policies. Furthermore, the dynamics of cooperation and territorial disputes between organized crime groups and the lack of knowledge about the variables involved in establishing an extortion rate are additional factors that merit further investigation, as they make it difﬁcult for public institutions to measure extortion.
This report analyzes the availability of public data on extortion and the transparency mechanisms for accessing it. To do so, the authors reviewed the availability and accessibility of data on extortion from ofﬁcial sources in the countries concerned, particularly the websites of national police forces and prosecutors’ ofﬁces. It also presents a new tool, developed as part of the Coalitions for Resilience project, which addresses the challenges and areas of opportunity in collecting reliable, comparative and systematic data on extortion in the region. The main contribution of this methodology is the proposal of nine indicators to measure the monitoring of the crime of extortion throughout the entire chain of the criminal justice system.