Surveillance and urban violence in Latin America

Mega-cities, social division, security and surveillance

Authored by: Nelson Arteaga Botello

Routledge Handbook of Surveillance Studies

Print publication date:  March  2012
Online publication date:  April  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415588836
eBook ISBN: 9780203814949
Adobe ISBN: 9781136711077


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In Latin America, the increased presence of electronic surveillance devices in urban space is underpinned by “zero tolerance” public security policies introduced in the last ten years. The goal of such policies has been to reduce the incidence of crime and violence in the mega-cities of the region, and to reduce feelings of insecurity in large sections of the population. The most commonly used surveillance techniques include video surveillance in public and private spaces and national biometric identity card schemes. This has had a profound impact upon the configuration of cities in Latin America, in that an urban logic has developed which distinguishes between supposed “secured” and “dangerous” spaces.

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