Survey on Insecurity and Drug Policy in Mexico

Survey on Insecurity and Drug Policy in Mexico

In late November 2011, the results from the 9th survey on Mexican Citizens Perceptions of Insecurity was released.   This survey is conducted by Mitofsky Consulting, a U.S. based firm, and highlighted a series of questions regarding how to combat organized crime and the so-called war on drugs.

When asked whether they believed Mexican President Felipe Calderon would win the war against organized crime, only 14% of those citizens surveyed responded positively.  This is down from 23% of those surveyed in March 2010 who believed that the war could be won.  The increase in violence and deaths over the last year could be to blame for the decrease in confidence, as well as the increasing recognition that it is impossible to win this abstract war.

Those surveyed were also asked a series of questions regarding different policy options to combat organized crime.  The majority of people (86%) were in favor of increasing the number of military troops in Mexican cities, while 37% (11% more than in April 2011) were in favor of permitting United States agents in the country.   This increase could be due to the perception that the Mexican military and police are more susceptible to bribes or connected to organized crime.  U.S. agents might be seen as being more impartial, although when we hear aboutthe DEA laundering money for drug cartels, I have my doubts about that.

Regarding legalization, 33.5% expressed support for this policy option, which is a fairly high number for a Latin American country.  A surprising 32.6% of those surveyed were in favor of negotiating with organized criminal groups as a means to diminish the violence.  Most Mexicans remember pre-2006 when politicians made deals with illegal drug traffickers in order to keep the peace and to them, this was much preferable to the current state of confrontation and violence.

The table below shows the change in opinions since the last survey was conducted in April 2011.

% in favor of the following policies

April 2011

October 2011

Increasing the number of soldiers in Mexican cities

71.3

86.3

Permitting U.S. agents to work in Mexico

26.6

37.4

Legalizing drugs in the same way that alcohol and tobacco is legal

22.7

33.5

Negotiating or making agreements with organized criminal groups

20.7

32.6

 

 

 

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