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

MEXICO / 9 NOV 2011

Authorities in Mexico found drugs, roosters and prostitutes in a Guerrero state prison this week, illustrating the continuing difficulty the…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 16 OCT 2015

A recent report reveals 60 percent of all confiscated weapons in Mexico are seized in the three states of Tamaulipas,…

ARGENTINA / 17 SEP 2013

The Gulf States are an increasingly important operation base and drug transshipment point for Latin American groups, according to a…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…