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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 141609 Find in a Library
Journal: Law and Human Behavior  Volume:17  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1993)  Pages:203-220
Author(s): B Wiegand; R Bennett
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 18
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: Based on a random sample of households (532) in Belize City, public attitudes are analyzed to assess the degree of support for drug law enforcement.
Abstract: American anti-drug efforts in Latin America have become decidedly more militarized since 1989. The U.S. Congress assigned the Defense Department the task of leading "all Federal efforts to detect and monitor drugs smuggled by air and sea." The U.S. Andean Strategy, a 5-year $2.2-billion aid package, has brought an explosion in U.S. drug-related military spending. An assessment of public attitudes toward this effort focused on Belize in Central America, which is in the center of the most heavily trafficked drug-smuggling route. Illegal drugs and drug enforcement have been prominent issues in Belize for more than a decade. Findings from the survey of public attitudes toward the "war on drugs" in Belize indicate strong support for drug education as well as for an increase in criminal sanctions and the size of the police force. Public support is weak, however, for the militarization of drug law enforcement. The significant determinants of public support are education, gender, attitudes toward the police, fear of property crime, and neighborhood crime prevalence. The citizens with more education are less likely to support the drug war, and women are more likely than men to support the drug war. Also, as faith in the local police deepens, the public becomes more likely to accept militarized drug enforcement. The authors note the potential of the militarization of drug enforcement to militarize social institutions and culture. Suggestions for the United States in increasing the will to win the drug war in Belize are to take a more active role in making the police more populat with the citizenry and to invest in the economic development of the country. 54 notes
Main Term(s): Drug law enforcement; Public Opinion of the Police
Index Term(s): Drug abuse education; Foreign police; Latin America; Military role in drug law enforcement
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