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Illegal Police Protection and the Market for Stolen Vehicles in Buenos Aires

[journal article]

Dewey, Matias

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Abstract In comparison to some illegal enterprises whose operations generate decisive moral rejection on the part of the public, vehicle theft remains an illicit underground activity that citizens largely tolerate or even exploit. In the province of Buenos Aires, the persistence, depth and breadth of transactions related to this black market cannot be explained without referring to the role of the state police. This article uses a theoretical approach to illegal police protection in order to understand the complicity between the police and criminals as fundamental to the market for stolen cars in the province. Using data from in-depth interviews and official documents, the article examines how exactly the police protect thieves, dismantlers and distributors of cars and/or auto parts. It analyses three elements that condition the sale of illegal protection to criminals by the police: threats and selective implementation of penalties; control of consequences; and bureaucratic falsification.
Keywords Argentina; larceny; organized crime; police; corruption; black market; South America
Classification Criminal Sociology, Sociology of Law
Free Keywords vehicle theft
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 679-702
Journal Journal of Latin American Studies, 44 (2012) 4
ISSN 0022-216X
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.