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WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, CMC – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says several commissioned studies have revealed that crime and violence have had a dramatic impact on women, youth and the economic well-being of families in Latin America and the Caribbean. The new studies “underscore the more hidden dimensions of the cost of crime” on regional economies, by looking at issues such as women’s health and property values” said a statement issued by the organisation. The studies were the result of a call for proposals to academics and other experts to use innovative and appropriate methodologies to measure the cost of crime and violence in the region, the IDB said. Out of a total of 117 proposals received, eight were presented by their authors at a January 24–25 seminar at the IDB headquarters here. “The children of women who have suffered from domestic violence have a greater risk of being born underweight, and grow up with more feeble health, with less chance they will be vaccinated and more likely to suffer from diarrhea,” said the IDB about one of the studies. The Washington-based financial institution said Latin American and Caribbean citizens cite crime and violence as their top concern, above unemployment, healthcare and other issues. It said the region suffers from some of the world’s highest homicide rates, stating that 20 of the world’s most violence cities are located in Latin America and the Caribbean. “Crime has tangible direct costs, such as the cost of funding a private and public security infrastructure to prevent and combat crime,” said Ana Corbacho, sector economic advisor of the IDB’s Institutions for Development (IFD) Sector, which covers citizen security at the IDB. Gustavo Beliz, an IDB specialist, said “a better understanding of the economic costs of violence and crime is vital for public-sector decision-making in the citizen security sector. “It allows for a discussion more grounded on hard information, among officials in ministries who deal with the areas of security, planning and budgets". The IDB said it aims to support the efforts of public institutions to better prevent crime and violence with actions that include social initiatives focused on the creation of opportunities for young people, strengthening management of police and penal justice, and with better rehabilitation.