10/13/13 (written by cmolzahn) — According to a recent survey conducted by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, INEGI), well over half of Mexicans living in urban areas consider living in their respective cities to be unsafe, and have deliberately made adjustments to their routines in order to avoid being victims of crime. INEGI’s National Survey of Urban Public Security (Encuesta Nacional de Seguridad Pública Urbana, ENSU) found that 68% of those surveyed considered their cities to be unsafe, while 31.7% felt otherwise. The ENSU survey was conducted for the first time ever in September, and involved 2,336 homes among 32 Mexican cities with populations above 100,000, including all of the state capitols as well as Tijuana, Baja California; León, Guanajuato; Acapulco, Guerrero; Cancún, Quintana Roo; and the Federal District (Distrito Federal, DF). Published October 2, it replaces the Continuing Survey of Perception of Public Security (Encuesta Continua sobre la Percepción de la Seguridad Pública, ECOSEP), a survey that reported 57.8% of respondents expressing that crime was the greatest concern in 2012.
Moreover, most of those surveyed are not optimistic that the situation will improve. 36.8% said they believe that public security will remain the same or slightly worsen over the next 12 months, and 24% believe that it will worsen. Meanwhile, 18.4% believe it will remain the same or slightly improve, while just 18.8% believe that it will improve. Likewise, 66.7% consider police efforts to prevent and combat crime to be ineffective or largely ineffective, while just 32.8% view it as somewhat or very effective. INEGI found that these perceptions stem from direct contact with criminal behavior in respondents’ neighborhoods. 70.9% and 43% said they have witnessed alcohol consumption and illegal drug use in the streets, respectively; 66.2% have seen robberies or assaults; 56.1% have observed vandalism; 35.1% have witnessed gang activity; and 27% reported hearing frequent gunfire.
These perceptions of public security have led respondents to make changes to their daily routines to lessen their chances of becoming victims of crime. 64.5% of those responding to the survey reported making changes such as not wearing or carrying with them items of value such as jewelry, cash or credit cards, while 50% said that they avoid walking around their neighborhood after 8:00 p.m. 48.5% have limited their children’s permission to leave the house, and 35.3% said that public security concerns have impacted when and how often they visit friends and relatives.