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Crime in Developing Countries - Responses To Crime In Developing Countries

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The last two centuries have witnessed the diffusion of criminal justice models from developed to developing countries, initially through colonization, subsequently through technical missions and consultants (Gómez Buendía). In developing countries, criminal codes and procedures, models of police organization, and prison systems all bear signs of the influence of the developed countries—a situation that has prompted much research, often critical, into the assimilation process. Rather than simple organizational transfer, the evolution of criminal justice systems in developing countries has involved selective appropriation and frequent creolization (adaptation) of Western models of crime control (Salvatore and Aguirre).

Against this background of relatively slow institutional change, concerns over crime in the late twentieth century produced some important short-term responses in developing countries. Statistics indicate that citizens are making more demands for police services, as measured by the increasing numbers of crimes reported to the police, and that urban inhabitants are reporting high levels of concern about personal safety and the protection of property (Zvekic and Alvazzi del Frate). Support for legal punishment, especially imprisonment, and for dubiously legal actions such as police shootings of civilians, is comparatively high. However, criminal justice agencies are perceived as inefficient and sometimes threatening, leading to the selective expansion of informal social control, especially greater protective measures, together with the exercize of, or support for, direct action against offenders, such as lynchings. Crime, and the fear of crime, have come to dominate and shape the urban ambiance in many developing countries (Caldeira).

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