The Urban Review

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 171–188 | Cite as

Crime Control Strategies in School: Chicanas’/os’ Perceptions and Criminalization

  • Edwardo L. PortillosEmail author
  • Juan Carlos González
  • Anthony A. Peguero


High schools throughout the United States experience problems with violence, drugs, and crime. School administrators have responded with policies and strategies designed to prevent school violence such as zero tolerance approaches, partnerships with law enforcement agencies, security camera installations, and hiring additional security personnel to monitor students. The purpose of this research is to determine how Chicanas/os and school officials perceive and experience these techniques as part of a broader process of criminalization. In addition, using qualitative data we explore perceptions of safety and experiences with victimization. Qualitative data include interviews (with high school students, school administrators, and security personnel), an evaluation of a Chicana/o-centered program, and participant observations in a predominantly Chicana/o high school located in the Southwest. Findings show some students find the new techniques to be invasive and hostile and others find school security measures as providing a sense of security; and administrators and teachers generally find value in the new approaches. From a LatCrit perspective, we argue that Chicana/o and Mexicana/o experiences are set within a context of racialized space where criminalization is one possible outcome of school security measures.


Chicanas/os Criminalization High school Surveillance Youth culture LatCrit theory Racialized space 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edwardo L. Portillos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Juan Carlos González
    • 2
  • Anthony A. Peguero
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of Colorado-Colorado SpringsColorado SpringsUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational Research and Administration, Kremen School of Education and Human DevelopmentCalifornia State University, FresnoFresnoUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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