Th e role of crime and justice policies in solidifying modernizing trends in newly democratic nations is well understood by students of Latin American politics, for therein lies some of the most visible challenges to the success of democratizing forces. Especially by the end of the twentieth century, violence fueled by urbanization, inequality, small arms traffi cking, and the drug trade threatens to undermine fl edgling democracies that fi nd themselves hardpressed to reform authoritarian police organizations in the face of demands that something drastic be done about crime and corrupt relationships between politicians and organized criminals (Koonings and Kruijt 2007).