Unequal Distribution of Access to Public Safety: The Case of Local Governments in Santiago de Chile

Sebastian Acevedo (University of Manchester)

Chile is a special case within Latin America considered one of the most violent regions in the world in terms of homicides and violent robberies. It is situated on the top position of different indicators such as GDP per capita, Human Development Index, homicides rates and in the Global Peace Index. Nevertheless, over the last 15 years, crime has been positioned as the most relevant problem according to Chilean citizens. This concern contrasts with surveys in which the number of victims has declined. The problem is that not all the Chilean population may have been benefited by this decrease. Behind the national averages are hidden multiple local realities in the territory evidencing the existence of “many Chiles”. Access to public safety may depends on the socio-economic conditions of neighbourhood and the resources of the local governments. This research is focused on the unequal access to public safety in Santiago de Chile (the capital), from a multidimensional approach using variables such as victimization, fear of crime, evaluation of public policies, municipalities and police, citizen participation, social cohesion, antisocial behaviour. The main source of information is a Chilean local crime survey with a sample over 70.000 cases. The figures and maps confirm that there is inequality among local governments to offer public security. This inequality does not reach to be diminished with the subsidiary policies of the Central Government needing alternatives of public policies and resources that consider a multidimensional approach of the public safety.