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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Assessing Decentralization: What Role for Municipal Government in the Administration of Justice?


This chapter attempts to identify the reasons that Mexican municipalities encounter difficulties in preventing and controlling crime, and improving perceptions of public safety. The research framework considers institutional constraints, including local administrative capacity, as well as relations with local residents and other levels of government, as possible explanations for failures in the design and implementation of local anti-crime policies. Empirical evidence is drawn from research carried out in six municipalities located in three different states. The conclusions suggest that understanding the source of municipal problems in the areas of prevention, public order and local police reform, as inherent in the design of local government helps explain how municipal policy-making could be nudged in productive directions through greater recognition of the potential for local initiatives.

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