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In the Americas, Homicide Is the Other Killer Epidemic


Ravaged by a pandemic, a brutal war in Europe, and rising social unrest over unaffordable food and fuel, the world looks anything but safe. The combination of raging inflation, polarization, and conflict has many people feeling afraid and insecure. In the United States, recent polls indicate that worries about violent crime and guns outrank worries about unemployment, immigration, climate change, and COVID-19. But has the world really become less safe in recent years? A closer look at the most important indicator—rates of lethal violence—reveals a more complicated picture with points of light and plenty of shadow.

In short: During the pandemic, most types of crime declined as much of the world was under lockdown. Although homicidal violence has risen again in a handful of countries, many more saw murder rates stay the same or even decrease since early 2020—with marked drops in some nations.

The stubborn exception to the decline in lethal violence is in the Americas—the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, which remain the world’s hotspots for murder. Of course, murder is just one end of a spectrum of violence that includes physical, sexual, domestic, and psychological abuse, which are much harder to capture with reliable statistics. Violent deaths provide a proxy for the wider problem. And that problem includes the fact that we know more than ever about what works and what doesn’t in reducing lethal crime—yet the countries and communities most affected aren’t applying these lessons.

Ravaged by a pandemic, a brutal war in Europe, and rising social unrest over unaffordable food and fuel, the world looks anything but safe. The combination of raging inflation, polarization, and conflict has many people feeling afraid and insecure. In the United States, recent polls indicate that worries about violent crime and guns outrank worries about unemployment, immigration, climate change, and COVID-19. But has the world really become less safe in recent years? A closer look at the most important indicator—rates of lethal violence—reveals a more complicated picture with points of light and plenty of shadow.

In short: During the pandemic, most types of crime declined as much of the world was under lockdown. Although homicidal violence has risen again in a handful of countries, many more saw murder rates stay the same or even decrease since early 2020—with marked drops in some nations.

The stubborn exception to the decline in lethal violence is in the Americas—the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, which remain the world’s hotspots for murder. Of course, murder is just one end of a spectrum of violence that includes physical, sexual, domestic, and psychological abuse, which are much harder to capture with reliable statistics. Violent deaths provide a proxy for the wider problem. And that problem includes the fact that we know more than ever about what works and what doesn’t in reducing lethal crime—yet the countries and communities most affected aren’t applying these lessons.

Since 2020, the United States has experienced a vertiginous rise in killings, outpacing every country in the world in the rise of homicides. People living in the United States have a decent reason to feel more insecure than in the past. After murder rates declined for decades, homicides jumped by 30 percent between 2019 and 2020, the highest increase in the world. In statistical terms, the murder rate climbed from 6.1 homicides per 100,000 people to 7.8 per 100,000 people. That may not sound like much, but it translates into big numbers: The absolute homicide toll rose from 16,669 victims to more than 21,000 victims, the largest single-year increase in U.S. history.

Murders, especially by firearms, remained stubbornly high in 2021, reaching 6.9 victims per 100,000 people. The United States’ harrowing homicide epidemic is driven by rising crime in cities, where lethal violence jumped 44 percentage points in 2020 and another 5 percentage points in 2021. Criminologists are scrambling to explain why the country is such an outlier, with various theories blaming declining trust in law enforcement, disruptions to the economy, and skyrocketing firearm sales. Americans are already heavily armed: One in three citizens claim they own a gun. Most owners cite personal protection as their motive. And Americans are going on a handgun and rifle buying spree. More than 40 million weapons were sold in the past two years alone—another record.

Brazilians are also feeling unsafe, with 2 out of 3 people claiming to be afraid to walk alone at night. And not without reason. Latin America’s largest country retained the top spot as the world’s most homicidal nation, with over 47,000 intentional murders registered in 2021, double the number recorded in the United States. Last year, Brazil logged 22 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, a slight decrease from 23 per 100,000 in 2020. Brazilian police are also the most violent in the world, responsible for at least 6,400 killings in 2021, six times more than their U.S. counterparts, who are in second place worldwide. In Brazil, stunning levels of inequality, impunity, firearms possession, and violent disputes between rival drug gangs are typically blamed for the high murder rate.

The story is sadly familiar in Mexico, Colombia, and a host of other Latin American and Caribbean countries with a long tradition of high levels of violence. Mexico, where the murder rate has remained largely flat since 2019, leads the world in the killing of journalists. After reaching its lowest rate in four decades in 2019, Colombia’s homicide rate has crept back up again, with a disturbing increase in the targeting of community leaders. Meanwhile, lethal violence declined sharply in some of the world’s most homicidal countries: by over 40 percent in El Salvador and just under 30 percent in Honduras and Venezuela in 2020, before climbing again in 2021.

If there is any positive news, it is that these spikes in violence have largely been confined to the Americas. Most other countries around the world registered overall declines in homicide since 2019. And it’s not just murder: An assessment of 27 cities around the globe found that most types of crime—such as theft, robbery, and burglary—have also fallen. Virtually all types of police-reported crime dropped in the wake of pandemic-related shutdowns.

While there has been a strong relationship between stay-at-home restrictions and certain categories of crime, the impact of the pandemic on homicide is more ambiguous. A recent study found that stringent lockdowns were associated with large declines in violence in most crimes. One reason for this is that the opportunity to commit crimes declines when there is a shortage of would-be-victims and homes whose residents are away. The pandemic-induced drop in social drinking likely also helped: In the United States, for example, over 40 percent of all convicted murderers and victims had alcohol in their blood just before or after the crime occurred. Yet lockdowns likely also contributed to a surge in family violence and domestic abuse. Although homicides connected to organized crime were likely down as daily routines changed, those associated with intimate partners may have risen, which could help explain the lack of wild shifts in most countries, especially those with low levels of collective violence.

Globally, murder is still hyper-concentrated in a handful of countries. Just five—Brazil, Nigeria, Mexico, India, and the United States—account for one-third of the world’s reported murders, according to numbers compiled by the Igarapé Institute’s Homicide Monitor. If the list is expanded to the top 10 countries to include Colombia, Venezuela, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Pakistan, then it accounts for 44 percent of all reported intentional killings outside of war zones. If global levels of homicide are going to be reduced, these countries would be a good place to start.

The silver lining is that there is growing evidence of what works to curb lethal violence, provided the leadership and resources are mustered to deal with it. The best way to prevent murder is to make it a political priority rather than an afterthought, with clear plans, targets, and benchmarks to track success. Rather than flooding communities with more police, decision-makers should focus on high-risk places and people—including improvements to the environment like green spaces and more lighting, supporting positive opportunities for young people, and professionalizing law enforcement and criminal justice providers.

Another proven strategy involves building up civic infrastructure, including through community-based groups. Princeton University sociologist Patrick Sharkey found that in cities with populations of 100,000 people or more, each new local organization created to prevent violence and build stronger neighborhoods resulted in a 1 percent decline in violent crime and murder. The advantage of investing in civic entrepreneurs is that they not only contribute to better safety and security but also improve community resilience in other ways.

Although evaluations of high-impact strategies to reduce lethal violence have largely been limited to North America and Western Europe, most experts agree that strategies targeting specific places and people—such as school-based programming—are especially effective at reducing the risk of violent behavior. Targeted cognitive behavioral therapy, positive parenting training, substance abuse assistance, education, and employment support can be fast and effective solutions. The goal is to generate tangible positive changes in the lives of young people, inculcating self-restraint and peer-to-peer socialization. These kinds of activities must be complemented with smart, professional, community-facing, and accountable policing as well as alternatives to prison time.

Ultimately, much like COVID-19, homicide is a treatable disease, not a permanent affliction. Like COVID-19, murder is most contagious in neighborhoods and among residents already facing the highest levels of disadvantage and stress, especially poorer minority groups. Also like the pandemic, it can be cured with the right combination of leadership, preventive policies, and remedial action.


Source: In the Americas, Homicide Is the Other Killer Epidemic

Clean Energy Holdings, ING Americas, and Equix Kick-off 250 MW Green Hydrogen Alliance Project in Texas


Leading Edge of Liquefied Green Hydrogen

FOND DU LAC, Wis., May 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- ING Americas (ING) has been engaged by Clean Energy Holdings, LLC (CEH) as its financial advisor in respect of the financing of projects by the Renewable Energy and Technology Alliance (The Alliance) being assembled by CEH. ING brings multiple areas of expertise to CEH's Platform and projects including advisory services and leading the capital raising requirements for the project.

Equix, Inc. Logo

Clean Energy Holdings, ING Americas, and Equix Kick-off 250 MW Green Hydrogen Alliance Project in Texas

Equix Inc., a well-established and highly respected infrastructure firm, is also joining The Alliance bringing industry leading execution experience including Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) in both renewable energy and hydrogen facilities. Bair Energy, LLC (BE) joins The Alliance as the Program Management Construction Management (PMCM) and serves as The Alliance Representative for the CEH Platform. The Alliance is working with an experienced commodities group to market and lead offtake negotiations for its projects.

ING will take the lead in securing project financing for CEH's 250 MW Clear Fork, TX renewable energy supplied green hydrogen and liquefaction project. As one of the largest and leading green hydrogen developments in North America, the project has a baseline schedule slated to enter commercial operations in the third quarter of 2024. The project is expected to produce a levelized average of 30,000 kg a day of liquefied green hydrogen. The CEH Platform is designed to attract leading edge and emerging technologies to integrate into our projects for validation and certification.

CEO of Clean Energy Holdings, Nicholas Bair, stated: "Our Alliance is leading energy transformation, and we are committed to continue to lead the North American market in the production and implementation of green hydrogen for industrial, chemical, and mobility applications. We are also driving technological advancements developed through our projects. We have assembled a group of industry leaders as well as local and state governments to navigate through the potential challenges as we deliver our projects from concept to delivery and provide turnkey projects with a complete basis for design. Our Alliance delivers on contract and safety, with guaranties. This project is a strategic priority for The Alliance to showcase its turnkey design, long term operations and production guaranties."

CEH President, Cornelius Fitzgerald, added, "These early, large-scale, projects will help define the green hydrogen industry in North America. Our Alliance partners and advisors have been carefully selected as both best-in-class for their respective roles and dedication to make these projects a success."

Chair of Bair Energy the projects PMCM, Candice McGuire stated, "flawless project delivery is the focus of the CEH Platform and The Alliance to lead the nation in energy security."

ABOUT CLEAN ENERGY HOLDINGS

Clean Energy Holdings (CEH) is a renewable energy and technology platform focused on developing, owning, and operating leading edge, innovative and reliable renewable energy and low carbon facilities. CEH is a technology centric platform and, with our Alliance Partners, provides turnkey solutions for innovative projects like Clear Fork Green Hydrogen, the second Green Hydrogen project brought forward by CEH. Further, the CEH projects have been carefully selected to lead various State and Regional initiatives aimed to bring cost effective Green Hydrogen fuel to transportation corridors as well as industrial clients.

For further information: Cleanenergyholdingsllc.com

ABOUT BAIR ENERGYBE is a Program Management and Construction Management (PMCM) firm with a focus on renewable energy projects in both domestic and select international markets. In its PMCM role, Bair Energy manages and coordinates platform concepts with viable projects to take advantage of benefits, like efficiencies of scale, not available to the projects individually. In addition, Bair Energy oversees construction of individual projects. In all roles, Bair Energy has embraced a philosophy for Health, Safety, and Environmental Excellence.

For further information: Bairenergyllc.com

ABOUT ING Americas

ING Americas offers a full array of wholesale financial products, such as commercial lending, financial markets, corporate finance and advisory products and services in the U.S. to its corporate and institutional clients. We know being sustainable is not just about reducing our own impact, it's also in the choices we make—as a lender, in our financing, and through the services, we offer our customers. That's why sustainability is inherent to our purpose of empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and in business. ING Americas is the brand name of ING's corporate and institutional client business in the Americas region, operating in the U.S. through ING Financial Holdings Corporation and its subsidiaries ("IFH"). IFH is a subsidiary of ING Bank N.V., and a part of ING Group N.V. ("ING").

For further information: Ing.com

ABOUT EQUIX INC.

Equix, Inc. is a private contracting firm that develops people and companies in the technical, professional, and construction services industries across North America. Focusing on utility and infrastructure projects offering full-service surveying, design, construction, and maintenance services to the renewable energy, broadband, electric, heavy civil, pipeline, water, and wastewater markets. Equix employs over 1,250 team members across 27 corporate offices in 13 states. They are licensed to do business in over 30 states across all service offerings.

For further information: Equixinc.com

Contact: Tim LeVrier, tlevrier@equixinc.com

Cision View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/clean-energy-holdings-ing-americas-and-equix-kick-off-250-mw-green-hydrogen-alliance-project-in-texas-301552354.html

SOURCE Equix, Inc.


Source: Clean Energy Holdings, ING Americas, and Equix Kick-off 250 MW Green Hydrogen Alliance Project in Texas

Banijay Americas Forms Diversity Employment Pact with Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s Group Effort Initiative (Exclusive)


A year after Banijay Americas first collaborated with Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s pipeline program Group Effort Initiative to help people from historically excluded backgrounds find jobs in unscripted television, the two entities have formally made a diversity employment pact.

Through the agreement, Banijay subsidiaries Endemol Shine North America, Bunim/Murray Productions, 51 Minds Entertainment and Truly Original will train GEI participants through panels, bootcamps and educational sessions and provide them with access to all of their U.S.-based shows, which include MasterChef and Celebrity Big Brother.

Reynolds and Lively financed and launched GEI in August 2020. The program, which is run through the couple’s respective companies Maximum Effort and B for Effort, seeks to get people from historically excluded groups into the industry pipeline through educational training, mentorship, paid internships, entry-level jobs and on-set PA gigs. GEI merged with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Evolve Entertainment Fund last June and to date has provided more than 1,000 participants with 159 full-time jobs and 673 paid internships.

“It’s incredible to see the support of GEI continue to grow throughout our industry. We are so thankful for early hand-raisers like Banijay Americas for committing to GEI placements across multiple projects,” Reynolds and Lively said in a joint statement. “This expansion into unscripted productions provides new access to GEI members and will further our mission to bring new voices into our industry.”

Over the past year, GEI participants have worked on such Banijay-produced shows as MasterChef, Celebrity Big Brother, The Miz and Mrs. and LEGO Masters. Last month, they spent a day at the company’s L.A. offices for panels and networking opportunities, including sessions with Banijay chairman of the Americas Cris Abrego and Endemol Shine North America chief content officer Sharon Levy.

“We are thrilled to partner with Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s Group Effort Initiative to offer candidates from historically excluded groups the training, access and opportunity required to build careers in the entertainment business,” Abrego said in a statement. “At Banijay Americas, we are committed to supporting initiatives like these that translate into real jobs and meaningful change for our industry.”

Added executive vice president of enterprise inclusion and social responsibility Karla Pita Loor, “With this partnership underway, our focus now will be on providing ongoing support and training for these early-career creatives, as well as working closely with our network of industry partners to expand GEI’s reach across the unscripted world.”


Source: Banijay Americas Forms Diversity Employment Pact with Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s Group Effort Initiative (Exclusive)



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