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Recovering our public spaces

09/10/2017
09:00
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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No authority can boast to exercise a good Government when citizens have to modify their habits for fear of being victims of a crime

Crime in Mexico is still on the rise. Between 2015 and 2016, the total number of crimes committed in the country increased almost by 2 million, going from 29.3 to 31.1 million, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). The results of the actions of the Government on insecurity are still not enough to reduce what most people consider is the main problem in Mexico.

Almost half of the crimes committed in 2016 were a type of theft (on the streets, on public transportation, car robbery), which brings as a consequence the fear of going to public spaces. The National Survey on Victimization and Security Perception points out the population feels insecure at ATM's, banks, public transports, streets, highways, markets, parks, recreational centers, shopping malls, in their cars…

No authority can boast to exercise a good Government when most citizens have to modify their habits for fear of being victims of a crime. According to the data of the INEGI, 64.2% of those surveyed stopped wearing jewelry; 51% avoids going out at night; 47% claims they carry no cash with them, and 39% doesn't carry credit cards. The people surveyed equally claimed to have stopped taking strolls, hailing taxis, visiting relatives, or going to the cinema or theater.

The figures above only correspond to the crimes filed before the public prosecutor, which is why actual figures could be much higher, given we don't have the culture of filing formal complaints. The victims know filing a complaint is equal to waiting several hours to be assisted by a merciless bureaucrat with no certainty of there being an actual investigation of their case, and least of all, of the perpetrators being caught. This is not new. We've known this years ago and progress to expedite processes has been nonexistent.

This survey, and others carried out by the INEGI, aren't just for the experts and scholars to study and analyze, looking for social or criminal behavior patterns. The first ones who should show some interest are the Governors whose entities are the most affected by insecurity and translate the figures into actions to turn around the situation.

Studies and research should be considered an assessment of what needs to be done on important social matters, not to be left discarded inside a drawer.

At the moment, the priority is to recover our public spaces. Citizens shouldn't modify their daily routines, it's the Government who should ensure our safety.

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