A Chance At Life Over Certain Death: Perceptions of Crime Prevention in El Salvador
Twenty-eight years after the Civil War (1980-1992), El Salvador continues to see high homicide rates and most notably in 2015 homicide levels surpassed the highest it was during the war (Watts, Washington Post 2015). Gang violence has been the focus of attention for the increase in homicides and crime, despite high rates of femicide in the country. Consequently, politicians, the media, and foreign investors have pushed for harsher criminalization of gangs. In El Salvador, foreign aid for gang violence prevention is concentrated on the implementation of zero tolerance policing which hyper-criminalizes male youth in low-income areas. Scholarship on gang violence prevention has focused on impacts of zero tolerance policing, the criminalization of youth, and gang desistance. Much of this literature focuses on the economic and educational disadvantages in communities with high gang violence. Rodriguez seeks to further this literature by adding that there are biases within the Salvadoran population based on skin color which impact perceptions of crime. This project uses data collected through the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) from 2012 to 2016 for El Salvador. This project explores the following question: Does skin color/race and socioeconomic status influence perceptions on best practices for crime prevention? Logistic regression findings for 2016 data have previously suggest differences in perceptions of best practice for crime prevention when comparing darker skin toned people to light skin toned people, and White and non-White Salvadorans. This presentation seeks to expand this analysis to include data from 2012 and 2014. She hypothesizes that due to historic and present educational inequality among people with darker skin tones, this group will be more likely to want prevention programs to reduce crime in El Salvador over harsher penalties for people who commit crimes.