Gangs in Central America: an analysis of the prevalence of gangs in Central American countries

Bridger, Kirsty Joy (2015) Gangs in Central America: an analysis of the prevalence of gangs in Central American countries. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The presence of gangs in Central America has had a devastating effect on society. Gangs have inflicted high levels of violence and homicide rates in the Northern countries; Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, damaging the region’s social fabric and citizens’ security. Gangs and the violence they exhibit are a manifestation of a relative breakdown of law and order within these countries which has implicated them in repressive, ‘Mano Dura’, responses from military and police, which are equally a problem. However, the presence of gangs is lower in the southern countries; Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, these countries also have far lower homicide rates.
    This dissertation aims to analyse the prevalence of gangs, and additionally gang violence, within countries in Central America in order to identify the prevailing factors which have influenced the gang phenomenon. The principle argument of this text is that there is a wide range of factors which, to a differing extent within each country, influence the prevalence of gangs and gang violence. The text begins with an overview of the gang problem within each country. The following chapters analyse the recent political histories of the countries, the official and nonofficial responses to gangs and the causes contributing to gang membership. The influence of these factors on gangs is assessed in order to provide contextual analysis of the prevalence of gangs within each country. The final chapter presents a reflection on the prominent factors influencing gang presence within Central American countries.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Languages and Area Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2015 10:04
    Last Modified: 03 Nov 2015 10:04

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