The global cities of Latin America - Rio de Janeiro, Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Mexico City and Medellin - have become engines of economic growth. These cities attract remarkable talent across all levels and build extensive networks that allow for innovation and the circulation of ideas. But crime, violence and the dissolution of the social fabric threaten the main attraction of these cities and significantly undermine development prospects. The challenge of providing policing that protects citizens, especially those living in the poorest neighborhoods where gangs and other criminal organizations tend to concentrate, is daunting. The conference on violence and policing in Latin America and US cities brought together academics, policy makers, NGOs, and citizens to reflect on how cities in Latin America are meeting the challenges of rising
criminal violence. Particular focus was given to the “policing” processes in cities that have experienced and successfully reduced civil war-like levels of violence. The goal was to reflect on the dynamics and varieties of security strategies, police reform and efforts to rebuild the social fabric of major cities. The conference was hosted by the Program on Poverty and Governance (PovGov
) at Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL). Other centers and institutions at Stanford University that co-sponsored the conference include the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS), the Bill Lane Center for the American West, the Mexico Initiative’ at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), and the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC).