Crime statistics in Mexico
To address Mexico’s security crisis, it is fundamental to generate statistics and interpretations, which can be trustworthy. However, official crime statistics seriously under-estimate some crimes, because there is a very low rate of reports by citizens, because federal and local authorities do not promote citizens’ complaints or reports, because they do not inspire citizens’ confidence, and/or because they manipulate the information. The percentage of crimes, which is not reported, is extremely high, with an average, in serious crimes, above 93%. This is why it is essential to promote reports and to generate true statistics.
To compare three- monthly crime statistics in Mexico, for the period 2022-2023.
To identify examples of under-estimations or manipulations of crime statistics.
The present analysis considers the crime statistics released by the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP), which, in turn, is based on local prosecutors’ offices information. Seven crimes are analyzed:
- Trafficking in person
- Domestic violence
- Drug dealing
- Main findings
In the first quarter of 2023, 123,421 victims and 716,106 common law crimes were reported nationwide, which means an increase of 6% in the total number of victims and 5% in the crimes reported in the same period of 2022.
There were decreases compared to 2022 in the records of victims of: femicide (-14%), kidnapping (-12%), and human trafficking (-4%). On the other hand, the records of intentional homicide (2%), extortion (8%), family violence (16%) and drug dealing (5%) increased.
Even taking into account the dark figure of unreported crimes (93%), some figures could indicate manipulation or concealment of information. Causa en Común was given the task of showing various anomalies and possible manipulations in the official figures of crime reports.
Among the findings of possible anomalies, it was observed that the state prosecutor’s offices reported increases in the records of subclassifications in some crimes, which, apparently, artificially delimits some categories of high-impact crimes. Examples of possible anomalies are reclassification of high-impact crimes to hide their increase; omission in the registration of victims, among others.
About that findings, Causa en Común proposes:
- Promote citizen complaints through permanent campaigns, multiply the mechanisms and channels to make complaints, and provide special accompaniment and support for people in vulnerable conditions, such as women and children.
- Train public servants in charge of collecting crime incidence statistics, in order to provide an approved information scheme.
- Establish institutional monitoring, supervision, detection and sanction mechanisms for those authorities that provide incomplete, manipulated or false information, and link them with accountability and transparency exercises.