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The Guerrero Attorney General's Office has Mexico's lowest prosecution rate. The Guerrero Attorney General's Office has Mexico's lowest prosecution rate.

Impunity still rules: study finds little improvement in prosecution rates

The probability of a crime being reported, investigated and solved is just 1.3%

Rampant impunity continues to plague Mexico according to a study that shows there has been negligible improvement in prosecution rates over the past year.

Entitled State Index of the Performance of Attorney Generals’ Office 2019, the study completed by the non-governmental organization Impunidad Cero (Zero Impunity) shows that the probability of a crime being reported, investigated and solved is just 1.3%.

The figure is 0.16% higher than the 1.14% rate reported in 2018.

Impunidad Cero president Federico Reyes Heroles described this year’s result as “maddening,” while executive director Irene Tello said there exists an impunity “crisis.”

Guillermo Zepeda, one of two Impunidad Cero researchers who worked on this year’s study, explained that the prosecution rate is derived from two figures: the percentage of crimes that are reported, which was 6.8%, and the percentage that are solved, 19.4%.

The state with the highest impunity level is Guerrero, where only one in 500 crimes is solved, according to the study.

The 0.2% prosecution rate in the southern state is the result of having both the highest percentage of unreported crimes in the country – 96.8% of offenses go unreported – and the lowest percentage of solved cases, the study says.

Tamaulipas is the next worst state with a prosecution rate of just 0.4% followed by Jalisco, Chiapas and Quintana Roo, where only 0.6% of crimes are reported, investigated and solved.

San Luis Potosí, Tabasco, Puebla and Aguascalientes also have prosecution rates below 1%.

At the other end of the scale, Baja California has the best prosecution rate in Mexico but at just 3.4% it is hardly flattering.

Querétaro recorded the second highest prosecution rate at 3.2% followed by Guanajuato with 2.8%; Hidalgo, 2.7%; Nayarit, 2.2%; and Chihuahua, 2.1%.

Reyes said more money needs to be invested in state-based justice systems; Tello said greater political will is required.

Zepeda said there has been resistance to change at state attorney general’s offices for decades, charging that networks of “vested interests” within them need to be dismantled in order to transform the offices and reduce impunity.

To put Mexico’s crime reporting and prosecution rates in some context, the researcher explained that 43% of crimes are reported in the United States and approximately 60% of cases are solved. Those figures equate to a prosecution rate of 25.9%,

In Chile, 35% of crimes are reported and about two-thirds of that number are solved, giving the South American nation a prosecution rate of 23.8%.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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