A record number of Mexicans feel unsafe living in the country’s main cities, a survey conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) has found.
The figure reached 76.8% last month among those polled for the National Survey on Urban Public Security, the highest number since the introduction of the tri-monthly survey in September 2013.
The two previous surveys recorded figures of 75.9% in December 2017 and 76% in September 2017.
The perception of insecurity was higher among women with 81% responding that they felt unsafe in their city compared to 71.8% of men.
Of those polled, 72.5% said that they expected crime in their city to remain the same or worsen during the next 12 months.
Four southeastern boroughs of Mexico City — Iztapalapa, Milpa Alta, Tláhuac and Xochimilco — recorded the highest level of perceived insecurity, with 96.7% of surveyed residents saying they felt unsafe.
Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, was next with 94.8% of residents responding that the city was unsafe followed by Fresnillo, Zacatecas, with 94.7%.
Three northern boroughs of the capital — Gustavo A. Madero, Venustiano Carranza and Iztacalco — also recorded a high rate with 94%, as did the Guerrero state capital of Chilpancingo with 93.3% and Cancún, Quintana Roo, with 93.2%.
On the other hand, the city with the lowest level of perceived insecurity was Mérida, Yucatán, where 29.9% said they felt unsafe.
Coahuila state capital Coahuila was next best with one-third of residents saying they felt unsafe, followed by Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, at 38.8%.
In terms of specific places where citizens feel unsafe, automatic teller machines located in the street were cited by the highest number of respondents, 81.3%, followed by public transit, 74.3%, streets that they typically use, 68.7% and their bank, 68.1%.
Almost two-thirds of those polled said that they had witnessed or heard about robberies or assaults in the vicinity of their homes in the first quarter of 2018, while 40% reported frequent gunfire in their neighborhoods and just over a third said that criminal gangs had a presence there.
México state capital Toluca was home to the highest percentage of residents — 58.4% — who said they had had a direct conflict or confrontation with criminals, closely followed by Mexico City, 58.1%, and Hermosillo, Sonora, 54.1%.
The cities with the lowest direct conflict rates were Campeche, 13.3%; Tapachula, Chiapas, 14.7%; and Tijuana, Baja California, 14.8%.
Two-thirds of respondents said that they had modified their usual habits by not taking valuables with them when they went out because of the fear that they could be the victim of crime, while just under 60% said they had changed their habits in relation to allowing their children to go out.
The survey also found that the navy was considered best at preventing and combating crime among the nation’s security forces, with 85.1% of respondents saying that it was “very or somewhat effective” at the task.
The army at81.6%, the National Gendarmerie at 69.6% and the Federal Police with 63.4% were rated next best. State police, 47.2%, and municipal police, 38.8%, were considered less effective.
At a national level, 24.6% of respondents said their city’s government was “very or somewhat effective” at resolving the most significant problems.
The top three cities in that respect — Reynosa, Tampico and Nuevo Laredo — are all located in the violent northern border state of Tamaulipas.
Residents of Villahermosa, Tabasco; Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas; and Ecatepec, México state, rated the performance of their city governments most harshly.
The survey polls residents of 55 of Mexico’s largest cities.
Source: El Universal (sp)