HomeNewsBriefUruguay Targets Motorcycles in Effort to Fight Crime
BRIEF

Uruguay Targets Motorcycles in Effort to Fight Crime

HOMICIDES / 18 MAR 2015 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Security forces in Uruguay have seized nearly 400 motorcycles in an operation meant to combat contract killings and robberies, one sign of the concern over rising violence in one of Latin America’s safest countries.

Three days into an operation that began on March 13, police in Uruguay had seized 279 motorcycles in capital city Montevideo and the provinces of Canelones and Maldonado for violating traffic laws or lacking proper documentation, reported El Observador. Roughly one hundred more were seized in other provinces in the country’s interior, while eight people were detained.

Motorcycles are frequently used to carry out contract killings, robberies, and to transport drugs, leading Uruguay’s Ministry of the Interior to strengthen controls over motorcycle use, reported El Pais. According to the newspaper, a stolen motorcycle can be purchased for around $400 on Uruguay’s black market. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Uruguay’s crackdown on motorcyle use as a means to reduce murders and robberies highlights growing concern over crime in the country, traditionally one of the safest in Latin America. Between March 2010 and November 2014, during the term of former President Jose Mujica, Uruguay registered 1,263 murders, compared to 1,034 during the previous presidential term. This relatively small uptick in homicides was primarily due to rising violence in Montevideo province, home to the country’s capital, according to a study conducted by the security think tank Observatorio Fundapro.

Although security issues in Uruguay pale in comparison to many other Latin American countries, perceptions of insecurity are relatively high. In a 2012 survey conducted by Corporacion Latinobarometro (pdf, around 40 percent of respondents identified citizen security as the biggest issue facing the country. Robberies in particular have a significant impact on security perceptions. In January, Ricardo Fraiman, the coordinator for the Citizen Security Program at Uruguay’s Interior Ministry, told InSight Crime that perceptions of insecurity in Montevideo are fueled largely by armed robberies, although this is not necessarily the most common type of crime in the country’s capital.

SEE ALSO: Uruguay News and Profile

Uruguay is not the first country to target motorcycles in an attempt to fight crime. In November 2012, the Colombian city of Medellin banned male motorcycle passengers in an effort to cut down on contract killings. Similarly, Honduras implemented a temporary ban on motorcycle passengers in 2011 following several killings committed by gunmen on motorcycles. Given their agility in areas with heavy traffic, motorcycles are often favored escape vehicles for criminals in urban areas.

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

HOMICIDES / 16 AUG 2011

In the tenth and final installment of a series of "myth-busting" blog posts, the Mexican government pointed out that…

BARRIO 18 / 20 APR 2017

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene…

MONEY LAUNDERING / 14 MAR 2013

Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers are likely using Uruguay for money laundering, according to a United States report, underscoring the…

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…