New Perspectives on Safety in Mexico City: Exploring the Disappearance Dilemma

As Mexico City grapples with a rising number of disappearances, questions are being raised about the city’s reputation as a safe haven. Despite official data showing a decline in high-impact crimes and homicides, the issue of missing persons threatens to overshadow the city government’s claims of improved security. With next year’s presidential election looming, the debate over these statistics is becoming increasingly contentious.

Elena Azaola, an academic and member of the citizen council for the Search Commission in Mexico City, believes that many of the disappeared individuals have likely experienced foul play, but their cases are not being properly accounted for. The fragmented and inconsistent nature of official data on homicides and disappearances makes it difficult to draw concrete conclusions. Different institutions compile their own tallies, which often differ by significant margins.

Mexico City also faces a unique challenge when it comes to identifying the causes of violent deaths. Between 25 and 47% of these deaths are left unclassified each year, making it nearly impossible to determine if they were homicides, suicides, or accidents. This issue is particularly prevalent in the capital, although the reasons for this disparity remain unclear.

Adding to the complexity of the situation, various institutions maintain separate registers for disappearances, and their figures do not align perfectly. The National Search Commission has noted a surge in disappearances in Mexico City since 2019, but it is uncertain whether this increase is due to a rise in the actual number of cases or improved reporting procedures.

Critics argue that there may be political pressure to downplay the number of disappearances, casting doubt on the accuracy of official statistics. The prosecutor’s office of Mexico City is currently revising the register to remove cases where individuals have been found, but their names have not been removed. However, concerns remain about whether this revision will be conducted responsibly and without political interference.

As the country prepares for the upcoming election, the debate surrounding these data discrepancies is set to intensify. Some defend the city government’s record on security, while others suggest that the data may be manipulated to create a favorable impression. The central question remains: How can Mexico City address the issue of disappearances and ensure the safety of its residents while maintaining public trust in official data?


1. Is Mexico City becoming safer or more dangerous?

Official data indicates a decline in high-impact crimes and homicides in Mexico City since 2019, suggesting an improvement in safety. However, the rising number of disappearances raises concerns about the city’s overall security.

2. Why is it difficult to determine the true number of disappearances?

Fragmented and inconsistent data compilation by different institutions, as well as the inclusion of individuals who are later found, make it challenging to accurately assess the extent of the issue.

3. What steps are being taken to address the issue of disappearances?

The prosecutor’s office of Mexico City is revising the register of disappearances to remove cases where individuals have been found. However, there are concerns about potential political interference and the thoroughness of this process.

4. How might these data discrepancies impact the upcoming presidential election?

The debate over the accuracy of crime statistics could influence public perception of the city government’s record on security. While some defend its achievements, others suspect data manipulation for political gain.

5. What steps can be taken to improve data accuracy and address the issue of disappearances?

Efforts should focus on creating standardized and reliable processes for data compilation, ensuring transparency and independence in reporting, and implementing comprehensive strategies to prevent and investigate disappearances.

By Alan Caldwell

Alan Caldwell is a respected authority and prolific writer on the subject of urban renewable energy systems in American cities. His expertise lies in exploring the implementation and impact of green energy solutions, such as solar and wind power, in urban landscapes. Caldwell's work often highlights the challenges and successes of integrating renewable energy into city grids, advocating for environmentally sustainable and economically viable energy strategies. His insightful analyses and recommendations have been influential in shaping how cities approach their transition to cleaner energy sources, contributing significantly to the discourse on sustainable urban development.