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Democratic Legitimacy and Public Insecurity: Crime and Democracy in El Salvador and Guatemala
ORLANDO J. PERÉZ uses public opinion surveys to investigate how crime victimization affects public attitudes toward democracy. The article focuses on the cases of El Salvador and Guatemala. Across the developing countries, fear of crime and perceptions of social disorder are widespread. The failure of the state and its public order and criminal justice institutions to respond adequately and to provide protection and basic security may threaten democratic development. The fear of becoming a victim of crime significantly reduces support for democracy, increases support for authoritarian measures, and lowers confidence in the police and the political system.

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