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Revista Criminalidad

Print version ISSN 1794-3108


NORZA CESPEDES, Ervyn  and  PENALOSA OTERO, María Jimena. Micro-extortion in Colombia: characterizing crime from Medellin, Cartagena and Bogota, 2011-2014. Rev. Crim. [online]. 2016, vol.58, n.1, pp.131-157. ISSN 1794-3108.

This article makes part of the series of publications belonging in the research line titled Influential psychosocial and demographic factors in micro-extortion, the objective of which was to identify in both victims and victimizers, in the cities of Medellin, Cartagena and Bogota, those psychosocial and demographic components likely to precipitate crime. A descriptive exploratory research with a mixed approach was outlined by applying semi-structured interviews to victims, offenders and judicial investigators in order to create a causal cycle model through the logic of systemic thinking. The results showed that, on average, perpetrators usually are young individuals between 18 and 25 years of age, with minimum schooling levels, vulnerable to the influence of third parties, located in sectors of unfavorable social conditions, poor labor opportunities and exiguous remunerations, and living within dysfunctional family environments for whom the so-called "micro-extortion" method is the first crime they dare to commit. On average, victims are within the age range between 42 and 49 years. In labor terms, they usually are productive individuals with functional and stable families that perpetrators generally choose as targets to address their threats; they belong to low-middle income socioeconomic strata, with intermediate levels of education, a routinary life style with upright values and proper social relationships. Finally, the economic component is the variable intervening in systemic iteration, and maintaining the micro-extortion process for a long period of time shapes some sort of game between the offender and the victim, where the former identifies threat as an efficient and effective mechanism designed to constrain the latter, in this manner giving rise to a cycle that can be reinforced by periodical payments serving to encourage new threats. Sustaining this game relies upon the low degree of danger or risk perceived by the perpetrator with respect to the likelihood of being caught, this added to the easiness of this kind of crime as far as efforts required are concerned.

Keywords : Extortion; victim; criminal/offender/delinquent; crime/offense; security; safety.

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