In “Focused Deterrence, Selective Targeting, Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime: Concepts and Practicalities,” published by the International Drug Policy Consortium in February 2013, Vanda Felbab-Brown first outlines the logic and problems of zero-tolerance and undifferentiated targeting in law enforcement policies. Second, she lays out the key theoretical concepts of the law-enforcement strategies of focused-deterrence and selective targeting and reviews some of their applications, as in Operation Ceasefire in Boston in the 1990s and urban-policing operations in Rio de Janeiro during the 2000s decade. Third, she analyses the implementation challenges that selective targeting and focused-deterrence strategies have encountered, particularly outside of the United States. And finally, she discusses some key dilemmas in designing selective targeting and focused-deterrence strategies to fight crime.
Report: Focused Deterrence, Selective Targeting, Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime: Concepts and PracticalitiesMarch 8, 2013
Wilson Center Senior Associate, Eric L. Olson, on the current security situation in Central America.January 27, 2012
Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin America Program and Mexico Institute, 1/27/12
Central America has become the most violent region in the world and many countries are facing enormous challenges of crime and public insecurity due to urban violence, street gangs, and organized crime engaged in international drug trafficking.
Latin America Program and Mexico Institute Senior Associate, Eric L. Olson, spent last week in three Central American countries and provides his analysis of the security situation there, including the role of the private sector, pervasive corruption in law enforcement, and the risks and benefits of vetted units.
I have just returned from a quick trip to Central America (El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Honduras) where I was attending a conference and held meeting with various government officials and independent experts on the issues of crime and violence in Central America. Here are a few initial impressions from this trip.
Engaging the private sector in the public security debate: The main reason for my trip was to participate in a roundtable discussion in Costa Rica with private sector representatives, government officials, and researchers on the issue of public security in the “Southern Triangle” of Central America – Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. This is part of a several step process that will include roundtables in the “Northern Triangle” and Washington, DC.
Read the Eric Olson’s complete Central America report here.
Fox News Latino, 9/25/11
They are fighting a violent drug war – but a new government report released Sunday shows many Mexican police officers still earn $350 per month or less, despite reform efforts aimed at increasing wages and decreasing corruption among the country’s police.
A report by the government’s National Public Safety System says the average wage for state police in Mexico is 9,250 pesos, which is equal to about $670 per month or about $8,000 annually.
But in the drug violence-wracked northern border state of Tamaulipas, state officers receive on average about 3,618 pesos, or $262 per month. Officers in the far-less-violent central state of Aguascalientes receive five times more than that.
Los Angeles Times, 9/13/11
The state of Veracruz in Mexico wants to change its penal code to apply a lower charge against the jailed Twitter and Facebook users accused of terrorism for spreading unconfirmed rumors of an attack on local schools (link in Spanish).
A proposed change in Veracruz’s laws would permit the government to punish the two social-networking users now behind bars, but for a lesser offense of “disruption of public order,” rather than the original charges of terrorism and sabotage. Those charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years.
Under the government’s plan, teacher Gilberto Martinez Vera and journalist Maria de Jesus “Maruchi” Bravo would be retroactively charged with a crime that isn’t even on the books, a scenario that Internet and human rights activists in Mexico promptly denounced as legally unfeasible.
The crime envisioned under the proposed law would carry a sentence of one to four years, meaning that Martinez and Bravo could possibly be set free after posting bail, the Veracruz government said.
As violence spirals across the border in Mexico, law enforcement officials on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas say they have not seen significant spillover.
But while American border towns have not seen anything remotely approaching the blood-stained carnage of some north Mexican cities where rival drug cartels are in a high-stakes war that killed over 6,000 people last year, criminal street and prison gangs have long been a way of life in south Texas.
Los Angeles Times, 4/21/2009
In the tense state of Durango, Roman Catholic Archbishop Hector Gonzalez announced over the weekend that the fugitive drug trafficker who tops Mexico’s most wanted list was living nearby.
And everyone knows it, he added. Except, it would seem, the authorities, who fail to make an arrest.
A shocking revelation indeed. But in Durango, most local newspapers and television stations declined to report the comments, and for some reason national papers that contained the remarks did not appear on many newsstands.
Los Angeles Times, 3/31/2009
The United States does not need to send troops to the border in response to Mexico’s drug war, nor is Mexico in danger of becoming a failed state, law enforcement officials told a congressional panel Monday.
Witnesses testifying before members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in El Paso urged the lawmakers to bolster law enforcement in the region, increase aid to Mexico and push to reform institutions whose weaknesses had been exposed by the struggle with drug trafficking gangs.
Experts and members of Congress likewise said Mexico had not become a failed state despite corruption and intimidation that had weakened local control in some areas.
“Cartels are primarily interested in fighting each other,” not in challenging for political control, Howard Campbell, an anthropologist at the University of Texas, El Paso, where the session was held, told senators.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs and the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control will hold a joint hearing entitled “Law Enforcement Responses to Mexican Drug Cartels” on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. in Room 226 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building.
Terry Goddard , Arizona Attorney General
William Hoover, Assistant Director for Field Operations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Anthony P. Placido, Assistant Administrator and Chief of Intelligence, Drug Enforcement Administration
Kumar Kibble, Deputy Director, Office of Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security
Denise Eugenia Dresser Guerra, Professor, Department of Political Science, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México
Jorge Luis Aguirre, Journalist.