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.

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.


List of Figures and Tables

1. Introduction: Citizen Security in Regional Perspective
Joseph S. Tulchin and Heather A. Golding

Part I: Issues and Themes
2. Police Reform and the Process of Democraticization
Hugo Frühling
3. The Control of Police Misconduct in the Americas
Paul Chevigny
4. Citizen Security and Reform of the Criminal Justice System in Latin America
Mauricio Duce and Rogelio Pérez Perdomo
5. The Violent American: Risk Factors, Consequences, and Policy Implications of Social and Domestic Violence
Andrew Morrison, Mayra Buvinic, and Michael Shifter

Part II: Case Studies
6. Citizen Insecurity and Fear: Public and Private Responses in Argentina
Catalina Smulovitz
7. The Militarization of Public Security in Peru
Carlos Basombrío
8. Police-Community Partnerships in Brazil
Paulo de Mesquita Neto and Adiana Loche
9. Experiences with Citizen Participation in Crime Prevention in Central America
Laura Chinchilla
10. Internationalized Crime and the Vulnerability of Small States in the Caribbean
Anthony P. Maingot

Part III: Conclusions and Recommendations
11. Looking Ahead:Steps to Reduce Crime and Violence in the Americas
Joseph S. Tulchin and Heather A. Golding


“For anyone concerned about the future well-being of the region, Crime and Violence in Latin America should be a mandatory resource.”—Seth McClaskey, Washington Report on the Hemisphere

“Addresses a major challenge to democracy that has, to date, been underresearched and underdocumented.”—David Scott Palmer, Perspectives on Political Science

“A good detailed discussion of regional reform efforts that pays particular attention to police-community partnerships and police-professionalisation projects.”—British Bulletin of Publications on Latin America, the Caribbean, Portugal, and Spain