HomeNewsBriefSurvey Highlights Latin America Police Corruption
BRIEF

Survey Highlights Latin America Police Corruption

BOLIVIA / 9 JUL 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Transparency International’s latest corruption survey highlights the extent of police corruption in Latin America, drawing attention to one of the most serious impediments to tackling organized crime and insecurity in the region. 

The group’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer found that an average of 27 percent of respondents around the world had paid a bribe to one of eight listed public services in the past 12 months. Bolivia and Mexico topped the list for Latin American countries, with 36 percent and 33 percent of respondents respectively, reporting having paid a bribe. Venezuela, Peru, Paraguay and Colombia also had notable levels of bribery, with between 20 and nearly 30 percent of respondents having paid a bribe.

Many of these bribes were paid to police — in Bolivia, 52 percent of those who reported paying a bribe in the past 12 months said they had paid off police; in Venezuela, 57 percent; and in Mexico, 61 percent. Bribes to judicial officials were also common in these countries. 

The police were also considered to be among the most corrupt institutions in Mexico, Bolivia, and Venezuela, and in both Venezuela and Mexico, over half of the population surveyed believed that overall corruption in their country had increased “a lot” in the past year.

InSight Crime Analysis

Transparency International’s results regarding corruption perceptions were similar to the 2010/2011 findings. The high number of officials extorting or taking bribes from citizens is unsurprising, given the rampant police corruption present in the countries where high percentages of respondents reported giving bribes.

In Mexico, 65,000 officers were found unfit to serve in 2012, and 150 police were arrested for organized crime ties in January, while both Venezuela’s corrupt police force and judicial system have been cited by InSight Crime as factors in the country’s high homicide rate. According to one study, 85 percent of the population in four Bolivian cities do not report crimes to the police because they lack confidence in the institution.

Although bribery statistics were unavailable for Brazil in the report, it is another country with notable levels of police corruption, where 60 percent of the people distrust police. Rio de Janeiro police have been particularly noted for extorting residents.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 6 FEB 2014

Bolivian police have discovered a pickup truck smuggling cocaine in modified secret compartments operated by remote control, illustrating the continued…

BRAZIL / 9 JAN 2018

The arrest of a Mexican drug lord in Brazil sheds new light on the international operations of one of Mexico’s…

EXTORTION / 7 MAR 2011

Two attacks by suspected organized criminal gangs on state oil workers in Mexico in recent days have left two dead…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…