Zonas Peligrosas: The Challenge of Creating Safe Neighborhoods in Central America examines indicators of orderliness and security in El Salvador, shows how policies and programs based on disorganization theory have been used, and why they might not make Salvadoran urban dwellers safer. In Latin America, these prescriptions form the basis for what has become known as “citizen security” policy. Just as in disorganization theory, citizen security emphasizes strong social cohesion and expectations for action on the part of neighbors and civil society.
Mimicking the methodology of disorganization theorists from the Chicago School, Tom Hare conducted four neighborhood studies in the San Salvador metropolitan area. Mixed methods, including two hundred original survey-interviews, were used to create a rich description of each case. The cases were selected in order to compare and contrast the social order in neighborhoods with varying levels of security and physical and demographic makeup.