The Woodrow Wilson Center Press
Policing Democracy: Overcoming Obstacles to Citizen Security in Latin America
Latin America's crime rates are astonishing by any standard—the region's homicide rate is the world's highest. This crisis continually traps governments between the need for comprehensive reform and the public demand for immediate action, usually meaning iron-fisted police tactics harking back to the repressive pre-1980s dictatorships.
In Policing Democracy, Mark Ungar situates Latin America at a crossroads between its longstanding form of reactive policing and a problem-oriented approach based on prevention and citizen participation. Drawing on extensive case studies from Argentina, Bolivia, and Honduras, he reviews the full spectrum of areas needing reform: criminal law, policing, investigation, trial practices, and incarceration.
Finally, Policing Democracy probes democratic politics, power relations, and regional disparities of security and reform to establish a framework for understanding the crisis and moving beyond it.
What People are Saying
"Very few scholars in the field have the grasp of recent changes in and problems of systems of citizen security in Latin America that this author has. His vision is comprehensive, extending from policing to the judiciary to the prison system."
—Anthony W. Pereira, Tulane University
List of Illustrations
Acronyms and Abbreviations
2 Realms of Change and Obstacles to Citizen Security Reform
3 Citizen Security and Democracy
7 Overcoming Obstacles to Reform
Appendix A National Homicide Rates, 1995–2009
Appendix B Citizen Security Structures and Police Ranks