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Organised Crime Research Network


A UCL-based research network on preventing and controlling organised crime


Flawed Measurements of Organised Crime Activities: The Case of Extortion in Mexico

By Patricio Estevez-Soto, on 5 April 2018


Then-President Felipe Calderón leads a guard of honour in front of the ruins of a casino torched by organised criminals, August 2011. Image courtesy Alfredo Guerrero/Gobierno Federal/CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Extortion against businesses is one of the main security challenges facing the Mexican government today. Statistics from crimes reported to the police show that extortion has increased dramatically since the country was plunged into a decade-long ‘war’ against organised crime, rising by about 81% in the past 10 years.

However, given the risk of reprisals entailed by reporting extortion incidents to the authorities, estimates from reported crimes rarely provide reliable measurements of extortion incidence.

To mitigate this shortcoming, Mexico’s national statistics agency (INEGI) conducts regular victimisation surveys that measure extortion, among other crimes. Estimates from surveys conducted with households (ENVIPE) and businesses (ENVE), suggest that extortion is, indeed, a widespread problem: it is the second most common crime against households, and the third most common crime against businesses…

Continue reading on the RUSI – ECPR SGOC Blog.