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Shop robbery & impunity

Shop robberies are extremely damaging to our national economy because it's exactly the small and medium enterprises which support the most number of families in Mexico
File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
21/01/2018
08:48
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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The feeling of insecurity is becoming increasingly more common among the inhabitants of more cities and areas of the Republic. Most of us fear we're in constant danger of becoming victims of a crime and this perception is justified by the spike in crime rates, which have increased violence in Mexico.

And the ones hit the hardest by this crime surge have been shops. Between 2015 and 2017, shop robberies went from 22,154 cases to 37,959 – surpassing the increase in vehicle thefts and muggings.

Shop robberies are extremely damaging to our national economy – not to mention our social weave – because it's exactly the small and medium enterprises which support the most number of families, and because the perpetrators are usually young people, thus disrupting the economic cycle of or the country.

To explain this trend we have to turn our heads toward poverty rates, the lack of opportunities, violence rates, and the problems causing social disintegration and disorganization which intertwine and encourage criminal behaviors. But in addition, according to experts, it's easy to see crime rates go up in places where corruption and inefficiency are present in the corresponding authorities.

Therefore, impunity is once more a decisive factor as it leads us to another path: lack of official denounces. Only 1 out of 10 robberies are denounced and investigated, according to the National Victimization Survey of Companies (ENVE). Experts claim that unless we devise strategies based on the information provided by the citizens, it will be extremely hard to see ourselves free of this problem.

Unfortunately, Mexican people do not trust their authorities. The bond between the community and the police forces seems to be broken and without denounces, the problem cannot be effectively resolved. Fear and lack of credibility stop victims from contacting the authorities – which complicates data gathering, pattern establishment, and geographic incidence – but official complaints and denounces are the core of the strategy we need. Of course, there should also be effective policies which promote equal access to opportunities and development for all citizens, within the margins of the law.

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