Perceptions and Realities of Violence in Medellín, Colombia


Latin America is one of the most violent regions in the world, and this is particularly evident in its many cities. While urban violence scholars and policymakers generally rely on homicide rates to measure levels of violence in urban environments, these objective indicators often do not capture its realities. By drawing from over six months of fieldwork in the Latin American city of Medellín, Colombia, this paper shows how Medellín has experienced a significant reduction in homicides, but both real and perceived violence continues to have a significant effect on residents’ lives. The article contributes to the urban violence debate by highlighting its complexity in Latin America and how it is not fully quantifiable.

The article has been kindly translated into Spanish by the author and can be viewed in both English and Spanish

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Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2019-05-07
Pages:149 to 166
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How to Cite
Doyle, C. (2019) “Perceptions and Realities of Violence in Medellín, Colombia”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 8(2), pp. 149-166. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v8i2.1010.

Author Biography

The University of New South Wales

Dr Caroline Doyle is a lecturer in the School of Business at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Canberra. Caroline has extensive fieldwork experience in Latin America. Her current research draws from her legal and policy experience by analysing how policymakers develop and implement policies to respond to social problems, such as organised crime and violence.