Orlando Pérez, "Crime and Support for Coups in Latin America." Latin American Public Opinion Project "Insights" Series n. 32 (2009).
Using public opinion data, Pérez shows the troubling connection between the rise of violent crime (especially homicides) in Latin America and growing support for coups.
We find that individuals living in large cities, with lower levels of wealth, less than university education and women are more supportive of military coups. These results parallel those found by José Miguel Cruz (2009) reported in an earlier Insights series, for perceptions of insecurity. The conclusion to be drawn is that individuals most affected by levels of insecurity also are most prone to support extreme measures, such as a coup, to combat crime.
He also looks at the fact that coups are more likely when citizens trust their military just as crime is becoming worse. This is particularly relevant at a time when, for example, the Mexican military is deeply involved in domestic law enforcement. In fact, there has even been debate in Argentina in doing the same.
This is an old, old debate. And the answer does not change--it is a very dangerous game.