The increasing number of drug crimes in Mexico City

by chloebenko on October 5, 2017 - 2:22pm

This article by James Fredrick sheds light on the safety issue in Mexico City due to drug crimes. With the arrest and murder of eight narcos by the Mexican police in Mexico City this summer, Fredrick makes it clear that contrarily to what Mexico City's mayor used to say, this city is not free from drug cartels anymore. Consequently, residents fear for their safety. Indeed, according to the article, 85% of them feel their city is unsafe. The author also points out the economical impact of increasing violence in the city. Tourism, which is key in Mexico City's economy, has not been affected by it yet, but it is mentioned that businesses spend almost $1billion in security and surveillance every year. A security analyst expert quoted in the article says that Mexico City is not likely to become a drug war zone, because it would be too hard for drug cartels to corrupt all police officers. However, Fredrick writes that this will not stop the crime rate to increase, because a continuous rise is expected. According to him, violence in Mexico City is related to a wider political trend spread around the whole country: avoiding to address the real source of this major drug crime issue and to change actual inefficient reforms.

The drug crime issue in Mexico City is definitely considered as a social issue because it affects the safety of the majority of its residents and is discussed daily in Mexico by the media and citizens. Drug cartels are responsible for crimes, extortion and kidnapping around the whole country, which creates economical, political and social consequences such as corruption and the breakdown of many families. For 10 years, the government has lead a drug war to control this issue, but other social movements take place throughout the population to manifest the inefficacy of this war.

I think that the government should definitely change its approach regarding the control of drug cartels, because the number of crimes only continues to increase. Starting to offer better salaries and training to the police forces to avoid corruption would seem as a good start. Stimulating the economy and giving better education to the population would also decrease the temptation for young men to fall into the drug world, because they would have a better economic situation.

(If it asks to suscribe to read the article, just type "Mexico City feels the heat to rising drug crime" in Google, Financial Times)


I also believe that investments in education by the government is the best long-term solution to tackle this problem. By arresting criminals, such as El Chapo, drug organizations are surely affected, but only for a short period. However, like you said, by improving the education system, people will have better living condition and they will be less tempted to try drugs. In your article, you mentioned that businesses spend almost $1billion in security and surveillance every year. I find interesting to analyze the economic effects of the drug trafficking. In a research done by Harvard, "an increase of 9.8% in the number of criminal organizations is enough to eliminate an economic sector" (Rios 2016). As you said, the tourism sector is not affected yet, but it is a sensitive sector. Also, I think that some people want to leave the country due to violence, because 85% of them feel unsafe. Thus, educated people who have the means would leave the country which could have a negative impact on the local industries that need skilled workers.

Source: Rios, V. (2016). The impact of crime and violence on economic sector diversity, Retrieved from

This summary is interesting because it really shows the growing problem that Mexico City faces concerning drug cartels. I had heard about this problem in the past on the news but I never really realized how big of an issue it actually was. As mentioned in the summary, the Mexican government should change its approach regarding the control of drug cartels. However, it should also change the way it deals with crimes related to drug cartels. Mexico City is a city with a big economic disparity. As a result, generally, the people most affected by drug cartel crimes are the middle and lower-class citizens (Munoz Martinez, 2014, p.35). However, these people do not have a lot of money or influence. Thus, most government institutions do not see these crimes as a pressing matter. Yet, if the crime was committed on an individual from a wealthy background with resources, then, the case could be solved in a matter of days. Moreover, as the author of Criminal Violence and Social Control points out: “Class inequality and differential access to justice pervade even the state security institutions themselves” (p.35). Thus, the Mexican government should find a way to control drug cartels but it should also allow the victims of these crimes to seek justice against them no matter their financial or political resources.

Munoz Martinez, H. (2014). Criminal Violence and Social Control. NACLA Report on the Americas, 47 (1), 35-36. Retrieved from Academic Search Elite.

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