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Explaining Patterns of Urban Violence in Medellin, Colombia

Caroline Doyle

  • 20 February 2018
  • Posted by: Nicolas Devia
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Explaining Patterns of Urban Violence in Medellin, Colombia

“The Medellin experience shows a reduction in the most serious type of violence, homicides, from appallingly high levels to moderate ones. However, this significant reduction does not mean the perpetrators of violence have disappeared, rather they have remained and restructured. These groups are still present in poorer neighbourhoods of Medellin where they provide certain services and are often perceived as legitimate actors. The non-state actors in Medellin are very capable of acting violently and sometimes do, however not to the extent of previous territorial conflicts in earlier years, when homicides were the preferred mode of resolving disputes. More recently, these groups have adopted practices such as the threat of violence and forced urban displacement. While homicides rates have declined enormously in the city, the structures of these violent non-state groups are still in place and capable of taking action.”

While certain socioeconomic factors have improved for poor communities, these structural inequalities and fragile or disinterested state actors account for the acceptance of the embeddedness of non-formal actors as legitimate actors in Medellin’s poor communities. These actors provide a type of service provision to their host community, in the form of employment and security services, comparable to the actions of gangs linked to organised crime in Rio de Janeiro. Further research is needed to fully comprehend this relationship to not only understand the changing patterns of urban violence in Medellin, but also to advance theoretical understandings of criminal behaviour on a global scale.” (Doyle, 2016)

Category:Publications
Country:Australia
Language:English
Year:2016
Institution:MDPI
Author:Caroline Doyle

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