Webcast Recap

Over the last decade, Mexico has faced serious law enforcement and security challenges, due to heightened violent crime and limited institutional capacity in the criminal justice sector. The challenges include improving basic law enforcement, confronting powerful organized crime networks, professionalizing police and judicial sector, protecting human rights, and promoting a culture of lawfulness. Mexican authorities and security experts have identified these challenges as part of a broader need to improve the provision of basic citizen security.

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto made several bold promises on how he would improve citizen security while on the campaign trail in 2012, including the claim that his administration would cut violence by 50% during his first year in office. Since he assumed the presidency in December 20132, there has been ample debate about the state of security in Mexico. Toward his first year’s end, official government figures project an overall decrease in national homicide rates, despite increases in certain parts of the country. However, many critics have charged that the Peña Nieto government has deliberately downplayed or even manipulated the country’s crime statistics to project a better image both at home and abroad.

To provide a careful examination of the Peña Nieto administration’s handling of security matters and the state of citizen security, the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a workshop with leading policy analysts from the United States and Mexico. Of particular interest will be the available indicators of crime trends, analysis of the specific policy measures of the Peña Nieto administration, and the efforts of civil society to confront recent security problems in Mexico.

Read a related paper by one of the panelists, Matthew Ingram, at this link.