CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – Nearly all (93 percent) of the inhabitants of this violent Mexican border city say they feel insecure and 71 percent of them reject the presence of the Federal Police, according to a survey published by a local university.
The 2nd Citizen Crime Perception Survey was presented Friday by the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez’s Social Research Center, which noted that there was slight improvement compared to the 2009 poll, when 96 percent of residents said they felt unsafe.
According to the poll, 25 percent of those surveyed said they had been the victim of some type of police abuse in the past year.
The survey also revealed that 66 percent of the residents of that Mexican city across the border from El Paso, Texas, would be in favor of an intervention by international forces to solve the violent-crime problems.
Socorro Velazquez, head of the Social Research Center, said at a press conference that the survey shows “there are no safe places” in the city.
“Six out of 10 say they feel ‘completely insecure’ in this border city. Then if we add the 33 percent of the population that say they feel ‘not very secure’ we have 93 percent of Juarez residents over the age of 18 who perceive the city to be unsafe,” Velazquez said.
A total of 2,100 people – 59 percent women and 41 percent men, all over the age of 18 – were interviewed for the survey, which was conducted in November.
The survey showed that 21 percent of the population has been the victim of some kind of crime, up 3.5 percentage points from last year.
The finding that raised the most concern among researchers was that 62 percent of crime victims decided not to report those incidents to the authorities due to a lack of trust.
The survey also revealed that the violence may be taking a severe psychological toll on Ciudad Juarez residents, since at least seven out of 10 have been witnesses to a crime.
More than 8,500 people have been killed over the past four-and-a-half years in Ciudad Juarez, where the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels have fought a brutal turf battle.
That period coincides with the tenure of President Felipe Calderon, who deployed tens of thousands of army troops and Federal Police to drug war hotspots, especially in the border region, shortly after taking office.
That strategy has led to the capture of several kingpins but the death toll from turf battles among the cartels and shootouts between the drug mobs and federal forces has steadily climbed.