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Mark Ungar

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The Privatization of Citizen Security in Latin America: From Elite Guards to Neighborhood Vigilantes

Record crime amid political democratization and economic neoliberalism has spurred an astronomical growth in private security throughout the world. After documenting the increase in private firms and discussing its causes in Latin America, the article shows the extent of security privatization by developing a typology based on two dimensions. The first is private security’s mission, which now runs the gamut from property protection to public order. The second is state involvement, which ranges from hiring private firms to supporting vigilante groups. Applying this analytical framework to three contrasting countries–Honduras, Bolivia, and Argentina–the article shows the regional extent of private security and highlights its long-term impacts.

police, crime, violence, democracy, Argentina, Bolivia, Honduras, Latin America

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 34, Nos. 3-4 (2007): 20-37