** Urbanization, Policing, and Security: Global Perspectives. Gary Cordner et al., editors; published by Taylor & Francis Group/CRC Press, www.crcpress.com; 475 pages; $129.95.
This book is an outgrowth of the International Police Executive Symposium on urbanization and security held in Dubai in 2007. With 37 contributors, the text varies widely in geographical focus areas, subject matter, and writing style. Its essays are relatively short but highly specific.
The book is divided into three sections: urban security problems, police responses, and private security responses. Although the theme is urbanization and security, the essays discuss topics as diverse as organized crime in South Africa and Azerbaijan; drug problems in Peshawar, Pakistan; police reform in Victoria, Australia; traffic administration in Hyderabad, India; and port security in Houston. (And that covers only six of the 25 articles in the book.) Some of the articles seem a little off-theme, such as “Police Cooperation in International Drug Investigations in North America” and “Body Guarding in South Africa.”
The article titled “Urbanization and Security in Russia” takes a close look at the appalling state of security there. It discusses corruption, torture by police, hate crimes, human trafficking, and terrorism. Some of the statistics are astonishing: 5,000 to 6,000 soldiers die in the military every year at the hands of sadistic superiors or due to accidents and suicides; in the general population, 60,000 to 70,000 people are murdered per year plus “25,000 people are declared missing every year and never found.” By comparison, there were about 16,000 murders in the United States in 2008.
The articles are well edited, although there is a tendency toward bulleted lists, subheadings, and tables, which break up the articles’ flow and make them more difficult to follow. It is an intensely academic book, and one that will be read by criminologists interested in policing and crime in other countries. It would be a useful book for any security professional who works internationally or in any of the countries featured.
Reviewer: Ross L. Johnson, CPP, is senior manager of security for Capital Power Corp. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as well as an independent security expert and author of The Sword and The Shield: Antiterrorism Planning for Corporations and Non-Governmental Organizations. He is a member of ASIS International’s Oil, Gas, and Chemical Industry Security Council.