Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Today's Mexico City Headlines: Two out of three Mexicans are going through life feeling unsafe where they live because of high crime. Should we celebrate because it's not more?

Excélsior likes news items that makes the current administration look good. INEGI, the National Statistics Institute, has handed them one. INEGI surveyed residents in 32 metropolitan areas and found that the number of those who feel their city is insecure dropped by 4.5 percentage points from March of 2014 to March of 2015.
    That earned Excelsior’s lead front-page headline: “Perception of security improves.” Milenio also fronts the story in its No. 3 hole, with a similar headline.
    Policy makers and analysts look to perception as a key indicator of the security situation. The vast majority of residents won’t experience crime on any given day no matter where they live. But if they feel they’re likely to, and adjust their activities accordingly, their quality of life suffers. They’re crime victims.
    Hence Excélsior’s upbeat head. But its positive spin depends on looking at things in relative instead of absolute terms.
    What the poll revealed is that 67.9% think their home town is unsafe because of crime.
    Last March that percentage was 72.4%. Hence the improvement of 4.5 percentage points.
    But of course we’re still left with the finding that two out of three Mexicans nationwide feel unsafe because of high crime. And we’re not told how statistically significant those 4.5 percentage points are.
    Excélsior also tells us in a sub-head that “according to those surveyed, the situation will continue to recover in the coming months." That rosy outlook is based on the finding that the percentage of those who think the crime situation will worsen over the next 12 months dropped by 2.6 points since March of last year.
    The raw figures show that 38.1% think the insecurity situation will stay “just as bad,” 20.4% “just as good,” 25% that it will get worse, and 15.6% that it will get better.
    It’s not accurate to say that respondents think the situation will improve this year when almost 85% of them say it won’t.
    It’s good that the numbers are moving in the right direction, if indeed they are. And it’s good that a few more people feel less insecure than they did a year ago.  But we might want to hold off on the celebrations for a while.

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