Mexican federal police on patrol

New statistics on Mexico's police paints a picture of an overworked, underpaid and understaffed force that is not concentrated where there are the most public security threats.

According to a new breakdown of the country's police from Mexico's National Statistics and Geography Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía - INEGI), police officers in Mexico work on average 65.4 hours per week, with 70 percent of officers working more than 48 hours per week.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Mexico's police officers also earn 31.3 pesos ($1.78) per hour, or 250.4 pesos ($14.27) per standard eight-hour work day, a little more than triple the 80.04 peso ($4.56) daily minimum wage, the report found.

Mexico's police forces are also largely understaffed, which has forced them to log more hours and skip essential training procedures. Of Mexico's 31 states, the report found that the number of police officers patrolling the streets was below the national average in 70 percent (22) of them. This was also the case in many of Mexico's deadliest states in 2016 (Guerrero, Baja California, Chihuahua and Sinaloa, among others).

InSight Crime Analysis

The problem with police in Mexico may start by overworking and underpaying them. For comparison, in the United States police are paid an average of $61,600 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is about four times the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour paid in the US.  

The difference in pay may generate differences in the profile of the job applicants. In Mexico, just over 54 percent of police have obtained a high school education, while just 8.9 percent have obtained a university degree. In the United States, 47 percent of officers have high school diplomas, 28 percent have university degrees, and 12 percent have a master's degree. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Police Reform

The INEGI data also pointed at another hole in policing in Mexico: distribution of resources. Mexico has 331,000 currently active police officers, representing an average of 231 officers for every 100,000 Mexican residents. But Mexico City recorded the highest rate of police officers per 100,000 residents with 678.4, while Tamaulipas recorded the lowest with just 82.7 police officers per 100,000 residents. Not surprisingly, those two areas are on different ends of the spectrum as it relates to crime trends. 

With a lack of manpower, Mexican police are forced to work more hours to compensate. The report only reveals the hours being logged. As officers work more, training is often brief or absent all together. A 2015 report revealed that 90 percent of officers were not adequately trained and approved to operate under the new accusatory criminal justice system, and in 2016, some 28,000 police officers who had failed polygraph tests, drug screens or ability tests were still on patrol. 

* This article has been corrected. An earlier version said that 90 percent of officers were not trained for duty.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...