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article imagePanama's attorney general seeks money to combat street gangs

By John Sevigny     Aug 28, 2013 in Crime
Panama's attorney general has asked the Central American nation's general assembly for money to combat gangs, evidence that gang-related crime is not isolated to traditional hotbeds such as Honduras and El Salvador.
Attorney General Ana Belfon went before the general assembly to protest recent budget cuts, saying they leave her department too weak to take on more than 200 gangs that have taken over parts of the country, including the port city of Colon, Insight Crime reported.
"The desperate cry that we have made is the result of the entire situation, which in the long term, has ended up a responsibility of the justice administration," Belfon said, according to Panama On.
Gangs in Panama are not new and Belfon is not the first Panamanian official to express concerns.
In May, National Police Director Julio Moltó announced a gang crackdown, TVN Noticias reported.
"These gangs are composed of Panamanians, both minors and adults," Moltó said during a May interview. "But we are investigating their location, concentration and control."
The US State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs considers Panama "relatively safe when compared to other Central American countries."
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