(CNN Spanish) — The perception of insecurity in Mexico fell in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, but according to a government survey, 64.2% of those interviewed considered living in their city unsafe.
the survey of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) reflects a decrease in the perception of insecurity compared to the same period in 2021, when that perception reached 65.8% of the population.
The National Survey of Urban Public Safety (ENSU) included adults in 27,975 homes in 75 cities across the country.
Although the results show that on average six out of 10 adults in Mexico feel unsafe in the cities where they live, Inegi said in a statement that the variation between the fourth quarter surveys of 2021 and 2022 represents “a statistically significant change.”
The Inegi reports that 19 of the 75 cities where the sample was taken had statistically significant changes compared to the third quarter of 2022, since while 13 presented a reduction in their perception of insecurity, in six there were increases.
Fresnillo and Zacatecas, two cities in the state of Zacatecas —located in northern Mexico— as well as Irapuato in the state of Guanajuato, reported the highest rates of perception of insecurity, according to INEGI data.
In these three municipalities, more than 90% of the citizens consulted said they felt unsafe.
In November 2021, the federal government announced the Support Plan for Zacatecas, which included —among other actions— the deployment of hundreds of additional elements of the Army and the National Guard in “municipalities that have an upward trend in crime , mainly in intentional homicides”.
On December 20, the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and the governor of Zacatecas, David Monreal, announced the reinforcement of security on highways and municipalities in the state.
Perception in other states
They are followed on the list of cities with the greatest perception of insecurity: Naucalpan de Juárez and Ecatepec de Morelos, State of Mexico, as well as Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, where nearly nine out of 10 citizens said they live in unsafe places.
In contrast, the cities with the best perception of security were San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León; Los Mochis, Sinaloa; Benito Juarez (Cancun), Quintana Roo; Los Cabos, Baja California Sur; Tampico, Tamaulipas, and Cuajimalpa de Morelos, Mexico City, where between two and less than one in 10 residents said they felt unsafe.
The report indicates that just over half of those interviewed throughout the country said they changed their habits to prevent being victims of some crime, such as not carrying valuables, jewelry, money or credit cards. 46% changed routines, for example preventing their children from going outside. And 45.8% avoided leaving their home at night.
According to the report, the spaces where citizens feel most insecure are: ATMs located on public roads (74.3%); in public transport (67.1%); in the bank (58.9%) and in the streets they usually use (57%).
Regarding having witnessed some crime or antisocial behavior, the Inegi reported that during the last three months of last year 60.6% witnessed alcohol consumption in the street, 52.2% saw some robbery; 42.7% observed vandalism in homes or businesses; 39.8% reported the sale or consumption of drugs, and 38.3% heard frequent gunshots. He added that this last behavior was 1.7 percentage points higher than what the citizens surveyed in the third quarter of 2022 said.
When comparing these results with the same quarter of 2021, a decrease of 3.5 percentage points is observed in the number of citizens who witnessed robberies.
Of the citizens surveyed, 34% considered that during 2023 the crime and insecurity situation in their city will continue “just as bad”; 25.9% thought that the situation would worsen and 16.2% thought that it would continue “just as well”. 22.7% said that the situation will improve.
The federal security forces were evaluated positively by the majority of the citizens surveyed. Eight out of 10 said that the Navy and the Army perform “very or somewhat effective” in their work of preventing and fighting crime, and seven out of 10 endorsed the work of the National Guard. Five out of 10 acknowledged the effectiveness of the work of the state police where they live, and four out of 10 that of the municipal police.
Until this Thursday afternoon, the federal government had not ruled on the result of the ENSU. CNN searched for the Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection, but so far we have not received a response.
CNN asked the municipal authorities of Fresnillo and the state authorities of Zacatecas for their opinion regarding the results of this survey, who said that they would not comment for the moment.
The federal government says that the crime rate is going down
On Tuesday, the Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection, Rosa Icela Rodríguez, reported that in December 2022 the victims of intentional homicides decreased 17.7% compared to the all-time high of 2018, and that it was the month with the fewest intentional homicides in recent years. six years in Mexico.
The five states with the highest number of intentional homicides during 2022, according to the figures reported by the federal government based on state reports, were Guanajuato (3,260), Baja California (2,728), the state of Mexico (2,604), Michoacán (2,423) and Jalisco (2,071).
In Zacatecas, a state where the Inegi survey indicates that the perception of insecurity is high, 1,336 intentional homicides were reported during 2022.
During the presentation of the annual security results, Rodríguez said that “clearly” the crime rate is going down.