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Patterns of gun trafficking: An exploratory study of the illicit markets in Mexico and the United States

Pérez Esparza, David; (2019) Patterns of gun trafficking: An exploratory study of the illicit markets in Mexico and the United States. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis aims to explain why, against the background of a fairly global crime drop, violence and crime increased in Mexico in the mid-2000s. Since most classical hypotheses from criminological research are unable to account satisfactorily for these trends, this study tests the explanatory power of a situational hypothesis as the main independent variable (i.e. the role of opportunity). In particular, this involves testing whether the rise in violence can be explained by an increase in the availability of illegal weapons in Mexico resulting from policy changes and rises in gun production in the bordering U.S. To conduct this study, the thesis develops and implements an ad hoc analytic strategy (composed of six steps) that helps to examine each gun market (i.e. pistols, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns) both in the supply (U.S.) and in the illegal demand for firearms (Mexico). Following this market approach, the study finds that patterns of gun production in the U.S. temporally and spatially coincide with the patterns of gun confiscation (and violent crime) in Mexico. More specifically, analyses suggest that changes in illegal gun availability (across time and space) provide a better explanation for the observed difference in state-level homicide in Mexico than traditional hypotheses. The thesis presents additional analyses in favour of the situational hypothesis (through triangulation) and reports the findings of novel interviews with law enforcement officers with experience on gun trafficking in the U.S.-Mexico context. The study concludes by reviewing the key findings concerning the illicit markets between Mexico and the U.S., their theoretical and policy implications, as well as possible avenues for future research.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Patterns of gun trafficking: An exploratory study of the illicit markets in Mexico and the United States
Event: UCL (University Collage London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10072573
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