Despite Drop in Homicides, Mexico’s Crimes Said to Increase

October 1, 2014

09/30/14 Bloomberg

survey opinion checklistDespite a decline in homicides, other crimes in Mexico rose for a second straight year in 2013, affecting more than a third of households as muggings, extortion and kidnappings all increased, according to a government survey Tuesday. The National Statistics Institute, or Inegi, said there were 33.1 million crimes committed last year against 22.5 million victims, or close to 42,000 crimes per 100,000 in the general population. The number of crimes was up 19% from 27.8 million in 2012. The new survey excludes homicides. Inegi officials declined to comment on the implications of the survey, which was conducted in March and April of this year. Alejandro Schtulmann, a political analyst at the Empra consultancy, said the increase in crime in 2013 continued a trend of recent years, and attributed it partly to the lack of effective local and state police forces.

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Defining class in Mexico: Middle worth

October 11, 2013

The Economist, 10/12/2013

woman shopping for water in big box storeIn the hallowed name of the middle class, Mexico’s politicians have been doing a lot of huffing and puffing lately. The source of their indignation is the president’s plan to raise income tax on annual salaries over 500,000 pesos ($38,000) and impose value-added tax on private schooling and mortgage payments. That, the people’s representatives complain, would beat the stuffing out of ordinary, hard-working families, so they plan to spare them the tax on schooling and housing.

If only the middle class were so lucky. According to measurements by the national statistics institute (INEGI), most of its members earn nowhere near the 500,000-peso threshold, let alone send their children to private school or pay mortgages.

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Mexico’s homicide rate shows slight improvement

August 1, 2013

gunsThe Washington Post, 8/1/2013

Mexico’s homicide rate dropped slightly to 22 per 100,000 people last year from 24 per 100,000 in 2011, according to new estimates by the country’s National Statistics and Geography Institute.

Experts said Tuesday the drop was uneven, with some of Mexico’s most violent states posting big declines and others showing big increases. For example, both the northern border state of Chihuahua and the southern Pacific coast state of Guerrero recorded 77 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2012.

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Mexico: bouncing back?

July 23, 2013

drawing bar chartFinancial Times, 7/23/2013

More signs perhaps that Mexico’s economy is sputtering back to life? On Monday, the country’s statistical office INEGI said retail sales rose 0.7 per cent in May compared to April, following a drop the month before. The news comes just ten days after Mexico reported a rebound in industrial production for May.

The latest retail figures will further add to the view among economists that the Mexican economy is set to bounce back in the second-half of this year after a lackluster performance in the first half.

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Mexico’s middle class: Too bourgeois to bus tables

June 24, 2013

woman with shopping bags and credit cardThe Economist, 6/24/2013

OUR report this week from the Mexican-American border points out that Mexicans are becoming too bourgeois to cross illegally into the United States. These days they’d rather stay in high school than risk deserts, rattlesnakes, murderous bandidos and La Migra (as the gringo migration authorities are known) just to bus tables north of the border. In fact, according to an exhaustive report in May by North American experts, known as the Regional Migration Study Group, Mexicans are much more likely to have a degree before going north than they were seven years ago, and the number of years of schooling of 15-19-year-olds is now pretty similar to that in United States. If more educated workers emigrate, it raises their earning capacity, which gives them and their families even more chance of rising up the ranks of the middle class when they and the money flow back to Mexico. In which case, even fewer will need to go to el Norte. That is real progress.

In Mexico, however, many are reluctant to admit that the country has become a middle-class nation. This is partly because so much of Mexico’s historical narrative is about poverty; half a century ago, 80% of Mexicans were poor. It is also because, for armchair socialists, the ways of defining the middle class includes access to things that are often considered abhorrently American, such as those sold through chains like Walmart.  To them, it is almost as if those who cannot afford such trappings of middle-class life are somehow more authentically Mexican.

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Despite Mexico Security Improvements, Public Polls Betray Deep Worries

June 19, 2013

Cops - Jesus Villaseca Perez (Flickr)InSight Crime, 6/17/2013

A government survey reveals how certain social behaviors in Mexico have changed due to public perceptions of crime, even though much of the country has seen violence levels plateau somewhat. According to a newly released portion of the National Survey of Victimization and Perceptions of Violence, known as Envipe under its Spanish acronym, Mexicans are substantially altering their lifestyles in an effort to insulate themselves from the violence. As a result, violence linked to organized crime is no longer considered an issue limited to public security, but is seen as a much broader problem, one that affects commerce, investment, education, and social life in general.

One of the most basic manifestations of this is the reluctance to enjoy the nation’s nightlife, previously a famous staple of towns like Mexico City and Monterrey. The survey — produced annually by INEGI, the government statistics agency — counted more than 23 million Mexicans who said they avoided public places such as bars and soccer stadiums because of fears of violence. This is not idle fretting: as InSight Crime has reported, bars have periodically been targeted and their patrons killed at random, as different criminal groups use terror tactics to advance their position. In one notorious incident in 2011, a first-division soccer game in Torreon was called off after just 45 minutes, due to a gun battle that started outside the stadium.

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Mexico’s Growing Middle Class is Good News for U.S.

June 17, 2013

woman shopping for water in big box storeABC / Univision, 6/14/2013

A new study on Mexico helps to explain the recent fall in Mexican immigration to the U.S. It suggests that Mexico is slowly becoming a “middle class country.”

The study by Mexico’s National Statistics and Geography Institute [INEGI] says that 42 percent of Mexican homes qualify as “middle class” while 39 percent of the country’s overall population falls into this social category. It also points out that at the turn of the century the middle class was only somewhat smaller, as it made up 38 percent of Mexico’s homes and 35 percent of the country’s inhabitants.

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