DOI: 10.12924/johs2021.16020097 |Publication Date: 22 March 2021

Possibilities of Advancing Police Reform in Guatemala through Community -Oriented Policing

Arturo Matute
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of the Valley of Guatemala, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Abstract: The paper describes the process of security sector reform in Guatemala with reference to the efforts to implement community-based policing practices. The results point to the difficulties of shaking-off public understandings of security honed during the armed conflict and underscore the efforts of a still young police institution to position itself in a democratic context. The study posits that community-oriented policing strategies open opportunities to forward police reform in the high-violence, low-trust, weak-institutions, and post-conflict context of Guatemala. The argument is supported by field data gathered in indigenous territories in the Western Highlands, where traditional forms of social organization persist, and in metropolitan Villa Canales municipality, an urban, high-violence site of research.

Keywords: Community-oriented policing; crime prevention; democratization; Guatemala; participation; police reform; post-conflict context


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