Latin America is the region with the highest incidence of homicides per-capita in the globe. Whereas the region accounts for only 13 percent of the world's population, it reports around 40 percent of total homicides. In many areas, criminal groups contend the state for dominance as they cash in billions of dollars from the drug trade. The COVID health crisis has disrupted the drug market and the balance of power within criminal organizations. At the same time, countries across Latin America are struggling with weakening economies, massive unemployment, abusive police behavior, and the shadow of militarization and populism. This panel brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to analyze the different channels in which the pandemic might accentuate criminal violence and other public security pre-existing challenges in the region. Examples will be drawn from Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela. It will be moderated by Edgar Franco Vivanco, MIDAS and NCID postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan.