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By Kees Koonings, Dirk Kruijt

Even as violent crime has declined around the world in fresh many years, Latin American towns have remained dangerous—they are actually one of the such a lot violent on the planet. This publication brings jointly a stellar roster of participants to examine the explanations and effects, in addition to the  possible suggestions to the matter of city violence in Latin America.

utilizing a framework of fragility and resilience, the individuals discover the ways in which fast urbanization—with its accompanying poverty and exclusion—has mixed with the extensive availability of firearms and a comparatively younger inhabitants to give a contribution to excessive charges of murder and different violent crime. That violence in flip spurs demands elevated legislation enforcement, which itself usually takes excessively competitive shape, wreaking havoc on already marginalized groups.  Featuring unique fieldwork and case stories, this quantity deals a clean comparative method of the difficulty that might be important to students and coverage makers alike.

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2 Motivation for the comparison of six paired cities Two large South American national capital cities and their metropolitan areas. These two cases, in the neighbouring countries of Venezuela and Colombia, represent a relative historical ‘inversion’ of the pattern of violence and insecurity. They are also roughly similar in size, average welfare and social structure but show important political and institutional differences and contexts. Caracas (Chapter 3) Bogotá (Chapter 4) Two medium-sized capital cities of small nations in Central America with urban primacy and centre-left national governments, but important differences in average welfare and politico-institutional dynamics.

Are these not cities where armed actors or organised crime are violently competing with government security institutions for money, power and territorial control? Are Latin American and Caribbean cities not leading global statistics on violence and insecurity (Koonings 2012)? Are they not synonymous with perceptions of insecurity and fear that rule the everyday lives of urban residents (Caldeira 2000)? Are these characteristics not grounded in long-term patterns of inequality and segmentation that dissect Latin American cities in both a spatial and a socio-cultural sense?

This has allowed them to set up their own range of illegal activities. These activities are typically ‘rackets’ of extortion or monopolies for the sale of goods and services. They include, besides offering protection, the sale of gas bottles, the distribution of (illegally tapped) cable television and internet connections, and the control of local means of transportation such as vans and mototaxis. The militias profess to fight the criminal violence of the drug gangs, but they employ the same violence to force their way into communities and to keep control of their ‘economic interests’.

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