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Kyrgyzstan: Distrust in Police Means Privatization of Law & Order

When crime strikes in Bishkek, who you gonna call? (Photo: David Trilling)

One morning last year in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Dilnoza awoke to find her brand-new Toyota Corolla missing. She knew immediately whom to call, and it wasn’t her local police precinct.

Dilnoza sought the help of a private security agency. And after six days of searching, the firm’s operatives finally tracked down and recovered Dilnoza’s car, which was found in a village outside the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. Asked why she didn’t go to the police, she provided a practical answer.

“I paid the company, so they had an incentive to find it. The police did not,” Dilnoza, 33, explained.

Over the past eight years, Kyrgyzstan has seen two presidents chased from office amid violent street protests and widespread looting. As a result, and thanks to widespread corruption, public trust in the police has plummeted. It’s not surprising, then, that a rising number of individuals and businesses are placing their faith in private security agencies to protect property and investigate crimes.

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Chris Rickleton is a Bishkek-based journalist.

Kyrgyzstan: Distrust in Police Means Privatization of Law & Order

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