Mexico Violence Linked to Youth Unemployment: Report

1/25/2016 InSight Crime

InSightLogo_main_24bitA new World Bank report states there is a correlation between homicide rates and the number of unemployed male youths during the apex of Mexico‘s drug war, a telling reminder that improving public security requires more than just criminal justice reform.

The recently released report (pdf) examines the risks facing Latin America’s “ninis,” a term used to describe youth who are neither in school nor active in the work force. Using data from Mexico‘s national employment surveys, the study concludes that there is no correlation between the amount of ninis and homicide rates from 1995-2013.

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Cocaine Seizures by Mexico’s Army Jump 340%

8/6/15 InSight Crime

cocaineCocaine is once again front and center in Mexico‘s drug trafficking industry. In contrast to other illicit drugs such as marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine, the amount of cocaine seized by Mexico‘s army skyrocketed during the first half of 2015.

The quantity of cocaine confiscated by Mexico‘s army during the first six months of 2015 — almost 2,800 kilos — is a more than 340 percent increase from how much was seized during the same period last year.

Prior to this year, cocaine seizures by Mexico‘s army had been on the decline. The apparent drop in demand for cocaine in the United States and reduced coca cultivation in South America were the reasons given for the decline in seizures registered by Mexican authorities during 2013 and 2014. But the 2015 data shows a different story.

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Mexico Formally Dissolves Public Security Ministry

InSight Crime, 1/3/2012

Guns by Flickr user barjackMexico’s Secretariat of Public Security (SSP), the body charged with handling internal security, has formally been dissolved, part of an anti-crime strategy that President Enrique Peña Nieto argues will be different from his predecessor Felipe Calderon.  On January 3, powers were officially transferred from the SSP to the Interior Ministry, which will now be the primary agency in Mexico responsible for internal security, as Excelsior reports. These responsibilities include oversight of the Federal Police and the country’s penitentiary system. The move was announced by President Enrique Peña Nieto in mid-November last year, two weeks before he took office, with Congress voting overwhelmingly in favor

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The Zetas and the Battle for Monterrey

InSight Crime, 12/19/2012

Guns by Flickr user barjackThe Zetas’ top leader is dead and the group is seemingly splitting into pieces, but they remain Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s biggest security challenge. In this context, InSight Crime delves into the battle for Mexico’s industrial capital, Monterrey, getting to the essence of a criminal gang that defies easy definition.

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Part III: The Gauntlet (Insight Crime)-Mexico Institute in the News

InSight Crime, 11/26/2012

IMG_0388According to Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) — the only Mexican government entity that has released data on kidnappings of migrants — 9,758 migrants were kidnapped in 33 different “events” between September 2008 and February 2009.1 In a 2011 study the CNDH estimated that 11,333 migrants were kidnapped between April and September of 2010 in 214 different events.2 Extrapolating the CNDH’s 2011 findings suggests that around 20,000 migrants are kidnapped per year in Mexico.

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Regional Migration Study Group Releases New Report

Migrants who choose to proceed even in the face of these risks increasingly are forced to seek the
assistance of intermediaries known as polleros, or “coyotes.” Those who are unable to afford a coyote are more likely to be abused or kidnapped, and held for ransom along the way. While there is little consensus on the numbers, Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights estimates that about 20,000 migrants are kidnapped each year by criminal organizations. In Transnational
Crime in Mexico and Central America: Its Evolution and Role in International
, Steven Dudley, the co-director of InSight Crime, traces the rise of Mexican criminal organizations and Central American gangs over recent decades and examines how these criminal groups impact migrants moving northward. The report reviews the origins and growth of the main illicit networks operating in Mexico and Central America, then outlines the little that is known about how criminal groups profit from, and in some cases facilitate, the flow of migrants northward.  This report is the latest research from the Regional Migration Study Group, a partnership between MPI and the Latin American Program/Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

To read the full report click here

Scholar Update- Steven Dudley

The Mexico institute is proud to be hosting Steven Dudley as a scholar in residence at the Wilson Center. Dudley arrived at the Wilson Center in September, 2012, and has been working on a book that analyzes the evolution of criminal organizations in Mexico. His research focuses on the 2010 massacre of 72 migrants by members of the Los Zetas drug trafficking organization on a ranch in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, an event that was widely reported but has received limited analysis. Dudley is working to chronicle the events, understand the forces that led to such horrific and seemingly senseless massacre, and consider what lessons can be drawn about the evolution of Los Zetas and the organized-crime landscape in Mexico. His is also working with Eric Olson, Associate Director of the Mexico Institute, on a project looking at civic engagement and public security and has been a panel member for a related Wilson Center-sponsored congressional briefing.


As a longtime reporter and founder of InSight Crime, Steven Dudley brings a wealth of experience to these efforts to understand the evolution of organized crime groups and the promotion of public security. Dudley is a longtime reporter, investigator and consultant who specializes in breaking down security issues on-the-ground in conflict situations; studying trends and tendencies of organized crime; analyzing political crises; investigating international and local justice systems; and reporting on corporate social responsibility, environmental subjects, and human rights issues. He is an expert on Latin America, where he lived for over 15 years, and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. Dudley is the Co-director of InSight Crime, a joint initiative of American University in Washington DC, and the Foundation InSight Crime in Medellín, Colombia, which monitors, analyzes and investigates organized crime in the Americas. Based in Washington D.C., Dudley works with a team of eleven investigators and various contributors throughout the region to give the public a more complete view of how organized crime works in the Americas, as well as its impact on public policy and communities throughout Latin America. Prior to running InSight Crime, he worked as a journalist for the Miami Herald, National Public Radio, the Washington Post and other media organizations. He has won various awards for his writing and in 2007 was named a Knight Fellow at Stanford University.