The JDI Latin America and Caribbean Unit aims to support improvements in the understanding of crime and the professional development of policing in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. A unit that has a LAC focus is in recognition of our growing activities in the region and the opportunities that come from a more coordinated and dedicated approach to how we support research and professional development in LAC countries.
Our ambition is to contribute to improving citizen security and the prevention of crime in LAC countries, and support the education of current and future generations of police and public security professionals.
The JDI LAC Unit has a particular focus towards better understanding crime in cities and across national borders, especially violent crime (including robbery, homicide, domestic violence and kidnapping), trafficking and exploitation gangs, and organised crime. We also seek to embrace the use of technology to help support our ambitions, in particular the use of mobile devices, geographical information systems, and smart technology.
The Unit is directed by Dr Spencer Chainey.
Our aim is to contribute to the existing research base on crime and citizen security issues in the Latin America and Caribbean region in two key ways:
- PhD research – through a coordinated activity of research that provides the means for examining certain aspects of crime and citizen security in detail, and determining implications for practice from the findings
- Dedicated research – dedicating resources to specific areas of research we have identified that require development or that we have been approached to support.
Examples of current postgraduate research:
- Erwin Rosas: Agent-Based Modelling for examining patterns of robbery and testing crime prevention strategies in Mexico City.
- Patricio R. Estévez-Soto:Situational prevention of organised crimes, with particular attention to extortion against businesses in Mexico.
- David Perez Esparza:Firearms prevalence, policy, and trafficking: a multidimensional strategy for the spatio-temporal prediction of crime and violence.
General details on our postgraduate research degrees (MPhil and PhD) can be found here. If you are interested in conducting your postgraduate research with us (e.g., a PhD) or are interested in conducting research through a taught postgraduate programme then you can find details of the range of degrees we offer here.
The JDI LAC Unit aims to contribute to the existing research base by developing research directly from UCL and in collaboration with universities and research institutes from the LAC region.
Our key focus is to support research that:
- Better understands crime in cities and across national borders.
- Improves our understanding of violent crime (including robbery, homicide, domestic violence and kidnapping) and how it can be prevented.
- Improves our understanding of trafficking and the exploitation of people (including sexual exploitation and modern day slavery) and how these issues can be tackled
- Identifies ways to help tackle the issues associated with gangs and countering organised crime.
Additionally, we seek to develop research that identifies ways in which technology can be embraced to help support our ambitions, in particular the use o mobile devices, geographical information systems, and smart technology.
Our aim is to support the skills development and further education of existing and future police and citizen security professionals and leaders. We provide this support through the opportunities to study on our academic courses (including via distance learning) and through continual professional development (offered as public or bespoke training courses):
The further education of police and citizen security professionals and leaders is supported through our range of postgraduate courses on policing, crime science, forensic science and countering organised crime and terrorism. This includes providing a course delivery mechanism that is appealing to serving police and citizen security professionals through either distance-learning, the option to take modules involving short (one week) intensive periods of study in London, as well as the option for full-time study in London. Through our partnerships with universities involved in the JDI LAC Unit Network we contribute to their academic courses through the teaching of topics on which we specialise.
- Find out more on the UCL Department of Security and Crime Science website
We offer training courses on practical ways of understanding crime and implementing responses that are designed to tackle these problems. Our training focus is towards the principles and practice of intelligence-led policing, problem-oriented policing, harm-focused policing and evidence-based policing. Training can be delivered in London or in countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region.
A video (with Spanish subtitles) describing an example of our training with the Uruguay Police can be viewed here.
- Find out more on our Professional development page
Listed below are examples of some of our activities in the Latin America and Caribbean region.
- Examining spatial and temporal patterns of robbery in Rio de Janeiro, Dec 2016-ongoing (partner: Instituto de Segurança Pública; supported by UCL Global Engagement Funds)
- The concentration of homicide in Latin America, and the opportunities this creates for homicide reduction, December 2016-ongoing (partner: Instituto Igarapé)
- Promoting the use of crime analysis and crime mapping to the Military Police and Civil Police in Rio de Janeiro, May 2016 (partners: Instituto de Segurança Pública and Instituto Igarapé)
- Developing skills in evaluating crime reduction programmes, February 2015 (partners: Instituto de Estudos Comparados em Administracao Institucional de Conflitos - Universidade Federal de Fluminense; supported by UCL Santander Catalyst Fund)
- Predictive policing in Belo Horizonte, November 2013 (partner: CRISP - Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais; supported by UCL Santander Catalyst Fund). Published paper relating to activity.
- Bicycle theft and bicycle accident prevention in Rio de Janeiro, November 2013 (partner: Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Politicos - Universidade do Estado do Rio De Janeiro and Empresa Olimpica Municipal; supported by UCL Santander Catalyst Fund)
- Environmental Criminology and Crime Analysis International Symposium, Brasilia, July 2009 (partners: Secretaria Nacional de Segurança Pública SENASP/MJ, Brasil Policia Federal, CRISP - Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Secretaria de Segurança Pública/DF, Fórum Brasileiro de Segurança Pública/FBSP)
- PADO (Programa de Alta Dedicación Operativa): examining its impact, range of impact, crime displacement, diffusion of benefit and cost-benefit, September - December 2016 (partners: Uruguay Ministerio del Interior, Policia Nacional de Uruguay, Inter-American Development Bank)
- Problem-oriented policing training, 2015-2016 (partners: Uruguay Ministerio del Interior, Policia Nacional de Uruguay, Inter-American Development Bank) POP Reference Guide developed in support of the training programme.
- Semana de la Seguridad: security and justice in Latin America and the Caribbean, September 2016 (participation)
- Examining the use of crime data and spatial crime analysis in Mexico City, planned May 2017 (partners: CIDE - Maestria en Administracion y Políticas Públicas; supported by UCL Santander Catalyst Fund)
- Collaboration workshops with researchers from the Center for Analysis and Modeling of Security CEAMOS, Santiago and London, 2015 (partners: CEAMOS - University of Chile; supported by UCL Santander Catalyst Fund)
- Belize Crime Observatory, 2015-2016 (partners: Belize Ministry of National Security, Belize National Police, Inter-American Development Bank)
- Towards the development of national Belize victimisation survey, 2016 (partners: Belize Ministry of National Security, Belize National Police, Inter-American Development Bank)