HomeNewsAnalysisMexico Survey Reveals Extent of Criminal Attacks on Businesses
ANALYSIS

Mexico Survey Reveals Extent of Criminal Attacks on Businesses

MEXICO / 12 JUN 2015 BY PATRICK CORCORAN EN

A new report from Mexico's government sheds light on the degree to which the nation?s businesses struggle to navigate the criminal landscape and the impact of organized crime on the country's economy.

According to the results of the National Survey on Business Victimization (known as ENVE, for its initials in Spanish), the nation?s businesses suffer losses from a wide range of criminal attacks. The most prominent is armed robbery, which affects 23 percent of the businesses polled. Theft by employees was next on the list, with 18 percent of those responding reporting losses stemming, while extortion rounds out the top three, with 16 percent of the businesses reporting having been extorted.

Each of these crimes has some degree of overlap with organized crime. Though once rare, criminal groups around the country have taken advantage of fraying police agencies and grown reliant on extortion as a supplemental form of income. Businesses operating in valuable natural resources in particular are vulnerable to their employees colluding with criminal groups to divert their merchandise.

Businesses spend an average of 30,450 pesos annually on crime prevention, which converts to only a bit more than US$2,000. While even sums far greater than that are an easy expense for big firms, such a quantity can be a significant expense for the small and micro-businesses that are most vulnerable to organized crime.  

Only 15 percent of the crimes against businesses are reported to the authorities, according to the survey. This is both a sign of the lack of faith in the official response as well as a powerful driver of additional crime as the unlikelihood of even being reported to the police, much less suffering prosecution or imprisonment, acts as an incentive to future crime.

MexStatsGraphic

InSight Crime Analysis

The ENVE survey offers clues as to the intersection of organized crime with the crimes reported by businessess in its analysis of the geographic distribution of the crimes, and the types of businesses most likely to be targeted. According to the 2014 survey, in four states extortion is the most common crime affecting business. Not surprisingly, three of these -- Guerrero, Tamaulipas, and Nuevo Leon -- are states that have long struggled to coexist with powerful criminal groups.

Furthermore, in each of these three states, not only do powerful criminal groups operate, there are also longstanding criminal rivalries that often spill over into bloodshed such as the Zetas fighting the Gulf Cartel in Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, and a myriad of different competing groups in Guerrero. This suggests that criminal groups are far more likely resort to extortion when they are in a hostile environment, whether because of the need to stamp their authority on society at large or to fund their struggle in the face of lost income from declining revenues from drug trafficking.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

The 2014 ENVE also indicates that in some areas and business realms, corruption is the biggest problem businesses face. Industrial firms listed being harassed by corrupt officials as the chief source of criminal losses, while the same crime topped the list of worries for all businesses in the states of Hidalgo and Tlaxcala. Corruption was actually an even greater worry in the 2012 ENVE, where it was the most commonly mentioned problem among all companies nationally, as well as for industrial firms, services firms, and small and micro-sized businesses.

While all businesses are potentially targets for illicit activity, the phenomenon of sophisticated criminal groups systematically targeting successful enterprises has grown common in Mexico. It has affected both small businesses and major international corporations. In 2012, for instance, members of the Knights Templar were believed to be behind an attack on facilities owned by a local subsidiary of Pepsico. The following year, the same gang was thought to be behind the murder of a local executive of ArcelorMittal, a multinational steel producer operating in Michoacan.

In 2013, the wave of extortions led three of the most important Mexican-owned firms -- ICA, Grupo Carso, and Cemex -- to write an open letter to President Peña Nieto, complaining of extortion and of criminal groups inserting themselves into government-funded public works projects.

Collectively, this has had a pernicious multiplier effect on society at large. Normal business activity is, of course, a staple of a free society, and extortion and other crimes serve to limit and distort it in a number of ways. This is true both in the direct costs of crime targeting businesses, such as the extortion payments or stolen goods, and the indirect costs, such as investment in security.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 30 JUN 2021

The embattled governor of a northern border state in Mexico is touting the timely arrests of those allegedly responsible for…

EXTORTION / 7 OCT 2021

Despite the pandemic’s economic fallout being felt throughout the Riviera Maya, cartels have continued their extortion schemes in Mexico's popular…

FENTANYL / 9 NOV 2021

A recent seizure of fentanyl in Mexico has shed further light on the capacity of organized crime groups to mass-produce…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…