10/28/13 (written by cmolzahn) — The National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, INEGI) reported the results earlier this month of its National Survey of Victimization and Perception of Insecurity (Encuesta Nacional de Victimización y Percepción sobre Inseguridad, ENVIPE), which revealed that during 2012, extortion remained the second most common crime in Mexico, but increased more than any other classification. Rates of crime rose for nearly every classification as compared with the 2011 survey. The study estimated 35,139 crimes committed for every 100,000 residents in 2012, as compared with 29,200 in 2011. INEGI estimates the economic losses resulting from crimes of extortion to be 13.5 billion pesos ($1.04 billion USD).
INEGI approximates that 7,585 crimes of extortion were committed per 100,000 residents in 2012 nationwide, as compared with 5,653 in 2011, a 34% increase. By comparison, robberies or assaults in the street or on public transit led all crimes with 10,037 per 100,000 residents, as compared with 8,570 in 2011, a 17% increase. Vehicle theft and robbery followed extortion with 5,015 crimes per 100,000 residents, up from 4,083, or a 22% increase. Threats, fraud, and home robberies followed, with 3,612, 3,319, and 2,656 crimes per 100,000 residents, respectively. The State of Mexico (Estado de México, Edomex) led all Mexican states and the Federal District (Distrito Federal, DF) with 41,048 victims per 100,000 residents. Baja California was next with 36,579, followed by Chihuahua with 32,567. Chiapas had the lowest incidence of victimization with 12,620 incidents per 100,000 residents, followed by Oaxaca and Tlaxcala, with 14,335 and 18,150, respectively. Respondents to the INEGI poll said that the greatest damage from extortion was emotional or psychological, with 50% responding as such. Moreover, the study found that the majority of those affected are women.
Marco Lara, a journalist specializing in public security and author of Extortion and other circles of hell, told SDPnoticias that extortion has become a “generalized practice” in Mexico, adding that, “there are many daily practices that we do not even consider extortion and in which we participate, in such that it becomes a habitual practice, naturalized in interpersonal relations, in community relations, in businesses, in government dealings, in public services.” This, he said, along with the public’s reticence to report more obvious cases of extortion, particularly when they involve members of organized crime, makes it very difficult to accurately assess the prevalence of extortion in Mexico. Moreover, said Lara, Mexico does not have a legal framework for addressing what he terms “institutional corruption,” and as a result citizens begin to view extortion as a normal practice.
Press Release. “Encuesta Nacional de Victimización y Percepción sobre Seguridad Pública 2013 (ENVIPE). Instituto Nacional de Estadísctica y Geografía. September 30, 2013.
Godínez, Alberto. “Extorsión, el segundo delito más extendido.” Milenio. October 1, 2013.
Pacheco, Alejandro. “La extorsión es una práctica generalizada en la sociedad mexicana.” SDPnoticias. October 24, 2013.