Vigilante justice and police protocols in the Latin American South Cone

Produced by: 
Universidad de la República - Uruguay
Available from: 
August 2013
Paper author(s): 
Fernando Borraz
Cecilia Chouhy
Irene Mussio
Maximo Rossi
Conflict, Crime and Violence

There is a wide debate worldwide, and particularly in Latin America with respect to citizen insecurity and the proliferation of more punitive claims from the society itself. In this article we analyze the attitude of the citizens belonging to the countries of the Latin American South Cone towards maintaining the law regarding persecuting and punishing criminals. In particular, we tackle the approval of vigilante justice in some circumstances and the justification of police procedures outside the law as a form of guaranteeing the capture of criminals. For this, we use the LAPOP (Latin American Public Opinion Project, Vanderbilt University) database from the year 2008. Analyzing the data using probit estimations, we observe that the approval of vigilante justice is related to the experience and particular situation of the respondent. In this sense, having been victimized in the last months and feeling unsafe in his or her own neighborhood increase the probability of taking that position regarding vigilantism. On the other side, sticking to police procedures is more strongly related to the general political beliefs and the level of concern for the respondents' insecurity. These findings indicate that the formation of these beliefs has a differential dynamic and that when actions outside the law have to be justified, this is distinguished based on the type of involved action and the actor who carries it forward.


Research section: 
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