La actividad criminal posee elementos geográficos y temporales observables. La identificación científica de tales elementos conlleva el potencial de traducir estos esfuerzos de investigación en información estratégica para la reducción de la actividad criminal. De esta forma, Geocrimen se constituye como un proyecto de investigación del CIDE con perfil internacional que tiene como propósito central buscar una articulación efectiva entre la investigación científica y el diseño de políticas para la reducción del crimen.

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Towards a macro-theory of crime in Mexico

Publicado 01-05-2014

On April 28th Carlos Vilalta presented the results of a test of two macro-theories in Criminology, namely, Social Disorganization (SD) and Institutional Anomie (IAT).  The case study was the Mexico City Metropolitan Area (MCMA) and the dependent variable was the crime rate for all crimes (i.e. the most general test possible for both theories) in 2010.

Results of spatial analysis showed both theories capable to predict crime rates in the MCMA in 2010. Yet, when tested together, SD correlates removed significance from IAT correlates, with the exception of one common correlate to both theories: Female headed households. Among the most important findings are the following:

  1. Female Headed Households and density of Bars/Restaurants were independently and positively associated with crime rates for all crimes after controlling for other theory-based correlates.
  2. The predictive capacity of these theories varied across municipalities in the MCMA, meaning that effects from crime prevention actions may vary geographically.
  3. In terms of crime prevention policy, results suggest a combination of social crime prevention and situational crime prevention policy actions.
  4. Increases in social policy programs for working mothers and making tax deductible the expenses in home and business security systems would be beneficial for residents in the MCMA, and most probably in other urban areas as well.
  5. Crime and fear of crime caused a total of 25.4 billion USD in costs and damages in 2012.
  6. Yet, the federal government will spend this 2014, approximately 190 million USD in social crime prevention policy versus the astonishing figure of 0.9 billion USD for the functioning of the National Institute of Elections (INE) and the financing of political parties – in a year with no federal elections.


The Conference on Violence and Policing in Latin American and US Cities was organized by the Program on Poverty and Governance at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law in Stanford University.

The conference PPT (with maps) can be downloaded from: