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The country of Guatemala has always been plagued by political, security, and socio-economic conditions. These issues have contributed to the country having one of the highest violent crime rates in Central America and being ranked as the third most murderous country in the entire world (Grann, D.). This project will examine one of the factors believed to be most prominent in the country’s security problem, police corruption. The Guatemalan National Civil Police (PNC) officers are confronted with institutional corruption, a homicide rate over five times the world average, insufficient resources, poor training, and distrust from the civilian population (ghrc-usa, 2014). “The U.S. State Department 2077 Guatemala Country Report on Human Rights Practices states that “Members of the police force committed a number of unlawful killings. Corruption, intimidation, and ineffectiveness within the police department and other institutions prevented adequate investigation of many such killings, as well as the arrest and successful prosecution of perpetrators.” (ghrc-usa, 2014). Another challenge for the PNC is drug trafficking. Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom blames the drug traffickers for the corruption plaguing the PNC. Drug traffickers have been able to corrupt many PNC officers and chiefs because they have the ability to pay more than the monthly salaries these people receive. Mexican drug cartels such as the Los Zetas and the Mara Salvatrucha actively operate throughout the country. In addition, Guatemala’s geographical location makes it a key country for trafficking in cocaine and heroin from South America en route to the U.S. and Europe

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)

Homeland Security and Emergency Perparedness

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Jason Levy


Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

Is Part Of

VCU Undergraduate Research Posters


© The Author(s)

Reducing the Risk of Police Corruption in Guatemala