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Crime and Violence in Latin America

, 296 pages
June 2003



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Crime and Violence in Latin America

Citizen Security, Democracy, and the State

By virtually any standard of measurement, Latin America ranks as one of the most violent regions in the world. Violence and crime pose serious threats to the relatively fragile democracies of Latin America and the Caribbean. This volume offers timely discussion by attorneys, government officials, policy analysts, and academics from the United States and Latin America of the responses of the state, civil society, and the international community to these threats.

Because the experiences of the countries in the region vary greatly, the book focuses on citizen security from a variety of perspectives. The first part examines the predominant themes of citizen security, which include efforts to reform the criminal justice system, separate the police from the military, create public and social policies decreasing violence, and raise money to finance such efforts. The second part presents case studies exploring experiences in Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Central America, and the Caribbean. In the final part, the editors offer specific policy recommendations based on the foregoing analyses.

This book contributes the most detailed discussion of reform efforts to date, with special attention to police-community partnerships and police professionalization programs. Although complete evaluation of these relatively new programs is impossible, the contributors discuss lessons thus far and offer recommendations for governments, civil society, and the international community. Policy makers, analysts, and students of public policy, sociology, Latin American studies, and law will benefit from this book.

Contributors: Carlos Basombrío, Mayra Buvinic, Paul Chevigny, Laura Chinchilla, Mauricio Duce, H. Hugo Frühling, Heather A. Golding, Adriana Loche, Anthony P. Maingot, Andrew Morrison, Paulo de Mesquita Neto, Rogelio Pérez Perdomo, Michael Shifter, Catalina Smulovitz, and Joseph S. Tulchin.

Joseph S. Tulchin is director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. H. Hugo Frühling is professor and research coordinator at the Political Science Institute, University of Chile, Santiago Heather A. Golding, until recently program associate at the Latin American Program, is a student at the University of Connecticut School of Law.

"For anyone concerned about the future well-being of the region, Crime and Violence in Latin America should be a mandatory resource."

"Addresses a major challenge to democracy that has, to date, been underresearched and underdocumented."

"A good detailed discussion of regional reform efforts that pays particular attention to police-community partnerships and police-professionalisation projects."

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