Violent crime rates have increased dramatically in many parts of the world in recent decades, with homicides now outpacing deaths due to interstate or civil wars. Considerable variations exist across democracies in their violent crime rates, however: different autocratic experiences help explain why this is the case. Democracies emerging from military rule have higher homicide rates because they typically inherit militarized police forces. This creates a dilemma after democratization: allowing the military to remain in the police leads to law enforcement personnel trained in defense rather than policing, but extricating it marginalizes individuals trained in the use of violence. The results of cross-national statistical tests are shown to be consistent with this argument.
The argument of this paper is that the emergence of military dictatorships, such as the Brazilian regime of 1964, is not caused by an economic crisis of dependent capitalist development. Rather, it results from a polarization and radicalization of the democratic regime by which it is preceded. Democracies handed down from above, like that in Brazil and other South American countries, favor the emergence of modern forms of autocracy
In 1970, Dr. Salvador Allende, presidential candidate of the Unidad Popular coalition, won a plurality — but not a majority — of votes from the Chilean electorate. Consequently, and in accord with Chilean electoral laws and constitution, the Chilean Congress was called upon to vote for the president, and it selected Dr. Allende as the country's new president. Soon thereafter a wave of opposition to his administration developed among business and middle-class sectors: Rightist political movements and parties, entrepreneurial associations, some white-collar unions, as well as groups representing both commercial interests and those of small business. Eventually this opposition determined that "the government of Allende was incompatible with the survival of freedom and private enterprise in Chile, (and) that the only way to avoid their extinction was to overthrow the government" (Cauce, 1984).