The Politics of Urban Violence in Developing Countries

PI: Louis-Alexandre Berg

This project examines the causes and consequences of criminal violence in cities affected by rapid urbanization, political transition and institutional weakness. It seeks to explain variation in crime levels among neighborhoods and cities; examine the role of local and national government in preventing or fueling crime; and identify innovative solutions that can inform crime prevention policy in developing countries.  The research focuses on the political dynamics that drive violence, by exploring the interaction between governments, urban communities and criminal actors to understand how the exercise of authority in urban areas with limited state presence affects the extent of crime and violence experienced by residents of those areas.  It also explores how state institutions, including police, criminal justice and municipal government, reflect and shape these dynamics to contribute to urban public safety. The project will draw from comparative urban research, focusing on cities in Central America, the Caribbean and West Africa.