While worldwide crime is declining overall, criminality in Latin America has reached unprecedented levels that have ushered in social unrest and political turmoil. Despite major political and economic gains, crime has increased in every Latin American country over the past 25 years, currently making this region the most crime-ridden and violent in the world.

Over the past two decades, Latin America has enjoyed economic growth, poverty and inequality reduction, rising consumer demand, and spreading democracy, but it also endured a dramatic outbreak of violence and property crimes. In More Money, More Crime, Marcelo Bergman argues that prosperity enhanced demand for stolen and illicit goods supplied by illegal rackets. Crime surged as weak states and outdated criminal justice systems could not meet the challenge posed by new profitably criminal enterprises. Based on large-scale data sets, including surveys from inmates and victims, Bergman analyzes the development of crime as a business in the region, and the inability-and at times complicity-of state agencies and officers to successfully contain it. While organized crime has grown, Latin American governments have lacked the social vision to promote sustainable upward mobility, and have failed to improve the technical capacities of law enforcement agencies to deter criminality. The weak state responses have only further entrenched the influence of criminal groups making them all the more difficult to dismantle.

More Money, More Crime is a sobering study that foresees a continued rise in violence while prosperity increases unless governments develop appropriate responses to crime and promote genuine social inclusion.


Chapter One: Crime and Prosperity: A Latin American Paradox

Chapter Two: Trends and Patterns in Latin American Criminality

Chapter Three: Why Has Crime Risen in Latin America?

Chapter Four: Profits and Opportunities: The Growth of Illegal Markets and Crime

Chapter Five: Drug Business and Crime

Chapter Six: Organized Crime and High Crime Equilibrium 

Chapter Seven: The Police in Latin America

Chapter Eight: Courts, Criminal Procedures, and Deterrence

Chapter Nine: The Sad Story of Prisons: A Balance of Failures

Chapter Ten: Concluding Remarks


"In More Money, More Crime Bergman provides an important and illuminating sociological account of crime in Latin American that makes a critical contribution not just to the criminology of the region but global criminological debates." -Enrique Desmond Arias, Marxe Chair of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Baruch College, City University of New York 

"This innovative study of crime and violence in Latin America provides an authoritative synthesis of available evidence together with a sophisticated region-wide explanatory model. Rising prosperity has generated new market incentives for criminality, but trigger conditions are also needed. Bergman therefore constructs a theoretical account of transition from low to high criminal equilibrium which also explains its near irreversibility" -Laurence Whitehead, Senior Research Fellow, Nuffield College, Oxford University 

"This book, by one of the leading criminologists in Latin America, Marcelo Bergman, is a huge achievement. Based on a wealth of new data and an innovative theoretical framework, it challenges conventional views about crime in Latin America and makes important proposals about how Latin America's security crisis can be better addressed." 
- Manuel Eisner, Wolfson Professor of Criminology, University of Cambridge 

About the Author
Marcelo Bergman

Marcelo Bergman is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies on Insecurity and Violence at Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He worked on this book during his time as a Mexico Policy Scholar in 2009-2010. Read More