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Poll: Mexican Businesses Report Worsening Crime as Violence Grows

  • Reuters

FILE - Police tape that reads in Spanish "Caution" marks off a crime scene in Mexico.

FILE - Police tape that reads in Spanish "Caution" marks off a crime scene in Mexico.

Mexican businesses reported a broad increase in the frequency, cost and impact of crime in 2015, a poll published Monday showed, in a fresh blow to President Enrique Pena Nieto's efforts to restore order to the violence-wracked country.

Over 35 percent of businesses across Mexico were a victim of crime in 2015, up from 33.6 percent in 2013, according to the poll conducted every two years and published by Mexico's national statistics institute INEGI.

Pena Nieto took office in 2012 vowing to end years of drug violence, but the murder rate has ratcheted up in recent months, helping to erode his already low popularity.

FILE - Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto delivers a speech in Mexico City, Mexico, Nov. 4, 2016.

FILE - Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto delivers a speech in Mexico City, Mexico, Nov. 4, 2016.

Mexico's economy has consistently underperformed since Pena Nieto assumed power, and the poll poses a fresh headache for his administration, which is struggling with a weak peso, cheap oil and the threat of a Donald Trump presidency in top trading partner the United States.

The survey found the total cost of crime to businesses in 2015 was 138.9 billion pesos ($6.75 billion), or 0.73 percent of gross domestic product, up from 119 billion pesos in 2013 and higher even than the 134 billion pesos in 2011, when the country's drug war was at its bloodiest.

Nationwide, nearly 15 percent of businesses canceled investments due to insecurity.

"Local authorities, whether of smaller municipalities or at the state level, have stopped doing many of the things they should be doing," INEGI's Adrian Franco said at a news conference.

Theft, extortion and fraud were the most common crimes businesses faced, Franco said.

FILE - Men stand next to the wreckage of a tractor-trailer set ablaze by members of a drug cartel in Guadalajara, Mexico, May 1, 2015.

FILE - Men stand next to the wreckage of a tractor-trailer set ablaze by members of a drug cartel in Guadalajara, Mexico, May 1, 2015.

The survey showed that 90.3 percent of crimes against businesses were neither reported nor investigated. The so-called "black figure," which gives a sense of impunity levels, was higher than the 88.1 percent seen in 2011 and 2013.

Of crimes that were reported, in 62.2 percent of cases nothing happened nor was solved. The majority of respondents said insecurity was the main problem they face, with 16.5 percent flagging graft.

The survey polled 33,866 businesses between Feb. 15 and April 30, 2016.

Well over 100,000 people have died in drug-related violence since 2007, when former President Felipe Calderon sent in the military to battle the country's drug dealers.

When he announced his candidacy in 2015, President-elect Trump accused Mexico of sending drug runners into the United States, and has since threatened to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement and fence off Mexico behind a border wall.

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