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Agents of Change: A Case Study of Community Policing in La Antigua Guatemala

By J. Schols


As crime and violence in Latin America are rising, insecurity is one of the major concerns of citizens. The authorities responsible for law enforcement are ineffective in dealing with the situation. In Guatemala, perceptions of insecurity are even worse than during the 36-year brutal civil war. In an attempt to improve the alarming security situation and poor police-community relations, the Guatemalan authorities have turned to community policing models. This thesis examines Plan Cuadrante, a community policing strategy from Chile that has been implemented in Guatemala in 2008. Using an anthropological approach, it focuses on the functioning of Plan Cuadrante in Antigua Guatemala. It addresses the effect of the strategy on perceptions of citizen security. It then focuses on the influence on the police-community relationship. The findings of this thesis include that despite minor steps ahead there are many obstacles to implementation of Plan Cuadrante in Antigua. Obstacles include a violent history and negative reputation of the PNC, poor communication between police and citizens, a lack of civil society and institutional commitment, misapplication of already existing scant police resources, a neglect and absence of expertise to fully employ community policing principles, and unequal involvement of citizens

Topics: Sociale Wetenschappen, Social Sciences & Literature and Cultural Studies, Latin America & Caribbean, Community Policing, Police-Community Relations, Citizen Security, Latin America, Guatemala
Year: 2011
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