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With a crime rate that Human Rights Watch identifies as one of the highest in the Americas, Guatemala's citizens are stepping in to fill the gaps that the police cannot.

They say they are not vigilantes, but are simply doing what is necessary to keep their neighborhoods safe.

Rights groups, however, say that neighbourhood security is the sole responsibility of the police, and that allowing citizens to police their own areas could lead to rights abuses. There have been 15 vigilante-related killings in the first three months of 2011 alone.

Al Jazeera's David Mercer reports from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala's second largest city.

Source: Al Jazeera