Katrina R Heimark

Katrina Heimark is currently an assistant professor and researcher at the Universidad de Lima in Peru. She is seeking a Ph.D. in Political Science with an emphasis on the fields of Comparative Politics and Political Psychology. Katrina completed her Master's in Political Science at the University of Minnesota in 2015, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, English, and Spanish at the University of Minnesota Morris in 2009.

Why people turn to weak, corrupt and/or failing criminal justice institutions in the event of victimization is the central question motivating Katrina's dissertation. In many Latin American countries, individuals turn to police officers despite widespread perceptions that these state actors are highly ineffective and untrustworthy. Using an interdisciplinary approach and incorporating elements from political science, psychology, and sociology, Katrina studies both individual- and country- level factors that explain citizens' requests for aid from the state.

More broadly, Katrina's research agenda focuses on the relationship between legal institutions, their actors and the general citizenry. She is driven to understand how the meaning and value of justice, the law, and the state impact citizens' decisions to appeal to state institutions.

Peru is Katrina's country of expertise. Her research on citizen contact with the police has most recently been funded by the Instituto de Investigación Científica (IDIC) at the Universidad de Lima and the Sexual Violence Research Initiative/World Bank (in collaboration with Wilson Hernandez and Lorena Alcazar at GRADE).

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Masters: Political Science, University of Minnesota, Minnesota, 2015.
  • B.A. : Political Science, English, Spanish, University of Minnesota -- Morris, Minnesota, 2009.


  • Comparative Politics
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Latin American Politics
  • Political Psychology
Courses Taught
  • Metodologías de Investigación, Universidad de Lima
  • Problemática Nacional, Universidad de Lima
  • Procesos Sociales y Políticos, Universidad de Lima
  • Teaching Assistant: POL 3477 Political Economy of Development, University of Minnesota
  • Teaching Assistant: POL 3489W Citizens, Consumers, and Corporations, University of Minnesota
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Assistant Professor: Department of General Studies; Department of Law, Universidad de Lima , August 2018 - Present
  • Researcher: Instituto de Investigación Científica, Universidad de Lima , April 2018 - April 2020
  • Visiting Researcher: Instituto de Investigación Científica, Universidad de Lima , October 2017 - March 2018
  • Editorial Assistant: Comparative Political Studies , 2015 - 2017


  • Citizens and police: Study of the mobilization of legal resources for the consolidation of the Rule of Law: Knowledge of and compliance with the law is fundamental for strengthening the rule of law. Departing from the premise that cooperation between citizens and the police is a key factor for the reduction of criminal acts in societies with weak rule of law, this investigation uses the case of Lima, capital of Peru, to analyze the conceptualization of the law and the police (legal consciousness) and its relation with citizens’ decisions to turn to the State and its institutions to manifest their demands or complaints (legal mobilization)., April 2019 - April 2020
  • Why do People Report Crimes to Police they Mistrust?: This dissertation examines police-citizen interactions and their effect on crime-reporting behavior in Peru, where mistrust of the criminal justice system and the police is the highest in the region. The purpose of this research is to gain knowledge in order to improve collaboration between police and citizens, strengthen the rule of law, and foster security, order, and justice.
  • Crime Reporting and the Distribution of Police Resources in Peru: Peru has one of the lowest crime reporting rates in the region, which prevents the state from truly understanding the degree of crime that its citizens suffer. In order to better understand how to promote crime reporting behavior, this research project examines the way in which the distribution of police resources affects and interacts with the rate of reporting. This research is supported by the Instituto de Investigacion Cientifica (IDIC) at the Unviersidad de Lima, and is in collaboration with Wilson Hernandez and Elohim Monard., April 2018 - April 2019
  • Legal Consciousness and Attitudes in Chile: An In-Depth Analysis: Along with Prof. Lisa Hilbink, Katrina carried out a face-to-face survey to a regionally representative sample of 750 adults from southern Chile that examined in-depth attitudes towards judicial institutions and actors as well as respondents’ respect for and relationship to the law. It was administered over a three month period and examined the ways in which fear of punishment, respect for authorities, psychological indicators, evaluations of specific legal actors, experience with the judicial system, and socio-economic status influenced both evaluations of judicial institutions and legal compliance. , August 2014 - December 2014


  • Comparative Politics Colloquium Co-Coordinator: August 2015 - May 2016
  • Graduate Student Recruitment Coordinator: Spring 2014 - and Spring 2015
  • Administrative Fellow, Center for the Study of Political Psychology: August 2014 - May 2015
  • Wilson Hernandez & Katrina Heimark (Forthcoming). ¿Por qué se denuncian delitos patrimoniales ante la policía? Una evaluación empírica para el Perú. Revista Criminalidad,
  • Hilbink, Lisa y Katrina Heimark. 2016. "Informe Especial: Percepción Pública y Legitimidad Judicial en Chile: Una Nueva Aproximación" En Sergio Toro et al. Informe LAPOP-CHILE: Cultura política de la democracia en Chile y en las Américas, 2014-2016 ¿Tiempo de Reformas?: Santiago: Vanderbilt-PUC: pp 178-79
  • Dissertation Research Fellowship, Department of Political Science, University of Minnesota, 2018
  • Political Science Pre-Dissertation Research Tool Fellowship, 2015
  • Graduate Research Partnership Program, Summer 2014