Street gangs in Panama are continuing to gain territory, according to a recent report.
According to the Minister of Public Security, the number of gangs in the country has nearly tripled over the past five years, reports Panama America. In 2005, police registered 88 different street gangs across Panama, but a 2010 report brings the total to 236. This means that there are seven gangs per every 100,000 citizens in Panama.
Ana Matilde Gómez, the country’s former Attorney General, has said that this dramatic increase demonstrates a lack of public policy regarding citizen security. Ultimately, because larger drug trafficking cartels in the region often use these street gangs to carry out contract killings, the rise in street gangs represents a worrisome trend for Panamanian law enforcement and international security experts.