Crime prevention model in Guatemala

Crime Prevention Models are useful tools to reduce the risk of occurrence of criminal acts within the institution. Their implementation is closely linked to the areas of compliance, with a focus on the criminal area.

In Guatemala, the main objective of implementing a program of this nature is to avoid direct criminal sanctions to the legal entity. As we have stated on several occasions, Art 38 of the Guatemalan Criminal Code penalizes the legal person for the omission of control with favorable results. The penal sanction to the legal person is a fine of US$10,000.00 to US$625,000.00, according to its economic capacity. In case of recidivism, the definitive cancellation of the legal personality is ordered.

Faced with this type of sanctions, it is necessary that the legal entities show their interest in preventing criminal acts in which their employees could eventually participate, since this way, due control of their activities is evidenced.

The effective interest in preventing non-compliance is materialized in the implementation of regulatory compliance programs, through which direct actions are carried out, materialized in policies and procedures, aimed at complying with current regulations. It is worth remembering that, in general, compliance programs begin with the correct application of the Code of Ethics created to suit the needs of the institution and are based on the objectives and values that govern the conduct of that legal entity. Through these programs, the risks produced by human activity are visualized, which are susceptible to be diminished through effective control mechanisms, actively communicating and making responsible the individual subjects acting within the institution. 

Now, specifically, the crime prevention model will refer to the vigilance that is carried out to avoid materializing the prohibitions described in the criminal regulation. The advantage of implementing this type of model is to generate value in ethical aspects, which translates into achieving an adequate image before clients and shareholders, evidencing that there are internal rules that promote regulatory compliance and prevent criminal acts, thus improving transparency in its operations. In the economic sphere, the implementation of this type of model avoids remediation expenses since the infraction and its legal consequences are more costly. In this line of ideas, we believe that a crime prevention model is a good tool to initiate the implementation of a compliance culture within the institution. Its advantage is that the methodology is focused on criminal regulations, so the risks to be mitigated and delegated in a timely manner are the most critical ones.

This model will make it possible to comply with criminal regulations, as well as to prevent and detect the commission of crimes and other infractions. In other words, it will prove internally that control was not omitted, and that the duty of care was exercised in a timely manner, circumstances that will distance the legal entity from a possible criminal sanction.

For any business the focus of this criminal mapping can be visualized in the following risk areas:

    1. The prevention of occupational risks.
    2. The prevention of the commission of the crime of money laundering.
    3. Protection of personal data.
    4. Environmental protection.

Obviously, to achieve a correct and complete implementation of a compliance culture, it will be necessary to continue with the risk mapping and implementation of controls to achieve effective compliance with all regulations applicable to the line of business.

We are always open to explain in more detail this type of issues to achieve a correct implementation of crime prevention models within your organization. As consultants we can approach your institution to get to know your business and thus, properly understand your needs and risks.