Mapping Citizen Security Interventions in Latin America: Reviewing the Evidence

By Robert Muggah and Katherine Aguirre
October, 2013

A combination of global, regional and local threats facing Latin Americans have given rise to an array of security responses. Some intervention strategies are heavy-handed and focused on restoring law and order, while others emphasise a wide array of preventive measures and are intended to support social cohesion. A wide range of these latter interventions – described here as citizen security interventions – are being pursued across Latin America at different levels of scale and by a variety of organisations. Citizen security entails the delivery of effective public safety measures in the context of broader democratic norms. This report considers how citizen security interventions have been operationalised across Latin America. It presents findings from a database that assembles more than 1,300 citizen security interventions across the region since the late 1990s and detects a dramatic increase in the frequency of such interventions. It also notes that a few countries account for the vast majority of interventions and that most of them occur at the national (as opposed to the regional or city) level.

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