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Peacebuilding and Violent Crime in Post-War Kosovo: A Quantitative Analysis

April 1, 2016

Without basic public order, post-war policymaking in the political, social, and economic sectors is extraordinarily difficult. Indeed, reestablishing public order after civil war has been called the sine qua non of post-war recovery. Yet there have been few quantitative analyses of historical attempts to establish public order after civil war. What factors shape the ability of peacebuilders to establish public order after civil war? What are the determinants of institutional effectiveness in the post-war security sector? Are local or international authorities better able to deter and respond to crime and more violent types of public disorder? Using new data gathered during field research in Kosovo, this article conducts a quantitative analysis of the economic, geographic, social, and security factors that contributed to patterns of violent crime in that disputed territory. These analyses are informed by qualitative field research, including interviews with security sector actors in Kosovo. The findings are striking. Poverty, rough terrain, and ethnic heterogeneity were not good predictors of violent crime in post-war Kosovo. Instead, international police and local police deployments are highly correlated with violent crime rates. Most importantly, the new local police authorities were very effective at reducing crime rates: Kosovo Police Service (KPS) deployments had a significant and large downward effect on murder rates and explosives attack rates in Kosovo. For each additional KPS officer per 1,000 residents, a region recorded on average .016 to .019 fewer murders per 1,000 residents. This effect translated to between three and nine fewer murders annually in a region. Kosovo regions recorded between six and 18 fewer IED attacks annually, for each additional KPS officer per 1,000 residents. These findings indicate the lasting effectiveness of well-resourced, intensive peacebuilding efforts focused on establishing local, professional security sector institutions.

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