HomeNewsBriefSpike in Mexico Lynchings is Grave Warning Sign
BRIEF

Spike in Mexico Lynchings is Grave Warning Sign

MEXICO / 13 JUN 2019 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

The number of mob lynchings in Mexico nearly tripled last year -- a sign citizens gravely distrust police and would rather take justice into their own hands.

Lynchings of suspected criminals increased 190 percent, from just 60 cases in 2017 to 174 in 2018, according to a joint report published last month from Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos – CNDH) and National Autonomous University (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México – UNAM).

Of the 174 cases, 76 percent occurred in just five states: 48 in Puebla, 40 in Mexico State, 22 in Tabasco, 13 in Mexico City and nine in Hidalgo, according to the report.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Robberies and assaults were the crimes that most often sparked such violent responses. Other crimes included kidnappings and sexual violence, according to more than 1,200 citizen surveys conducted by researchers in the State of Mexico, Mexico City, Morelos and Puebla, which the authors considered to be so-called "red zones" for lynchings.

The sharp increase in lynchings shows "an absolute inability of the State [to] enforce the ... rights of the people ... [so locals] decide to arm themselves to respond to the wave of rapes, robberies or kidnappings," Francisco Rivas, president of Mexico’s National Citizens’ Observatory (Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano — ONC), told El Universal.

So far in 2019, the report found that there have been 67 recorded cases of lynchings, with 107 people either injured or killed. In recent years, lynchings have become a "legitimate path to justice" for communities with high rates of crime, according to the report.

InSight Crime Analysis

The substantial uptick in lynchings in Mexico suggests that citizens continue to distrust police and lack confidence in authorities' ability to hold suspected criminals accountable.

Indeed, less than five percent of the population has faith in municipal police forces and nearly 40 percent believe officers have been co-opted by organized crime groups, according to interviews with 1,200 citizens for a survey conducted last year by the Social Studies and Public Opinion Center (Centro de Estudios Sociales y de Opinión Pública – CESOP) of Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies.

SEE ALSO: What’s Standing in the Way of Police Reform in Mexico?

This lack of faith comes with good reason. The entire municipal police force of Tehuacán in central Puebla state was removed last year amid suspicions that the unit had links to organized crime. Authorities in southwest Guerrero state proposed disbanding municipal police forces altogether to create a single unit amid fears of infiltration from organized crime groups.

However, police officers, especially at the municipal level, face enormous hurdles when doing their jobs. They are underpaid, lack necessary training and resources, and are often understaffed in areas hardest hit by organized crime.

Establishing community policing efforts may help reverse this trend in areas where lynchings frequently occur, as these killings often indicate that citizens feel abandoned by authorities.

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.

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

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 15 DEC 2010

The Mexican government has done little to protect migrants from organized criminal groups like the Zetas, says a report released…

ARGENTINA / 3 FEB 2021

As workers across Latin America struggle to stay afloat amid economic strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, loan sharks offering…

MEXICO / 11 JAN 2011

A daily newspaper in Cancun published an inside look at the day-to-day life of an assassin for one of Mexico's…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.