Reports and papers
Drugs, gangs and vigilantes
How to tackle the new breeds of Mexican armed violence
Since 2007 Mexico has experienced a steady increase in lethal and non-lethal forms of violence, including kidnappings, extortion, extra-judicial killings and forced disappearances. This spiral of violence has been driven by the consolidation and expansion of non-conventional armed actors operating in an institutional and political climate characterised by pervasive levels of corruption, impunity and criminal collusion. Public indignation over this state of affairs reached a high after the disappearance of 43 trainee teachers in the town of Iguala in September 2014.
This report analyses the objectives, structures and impact of non-conventional armed actors in Mexico, focusing on drug-trafficking organisations, street gangs and so-called self-defence forces. It examines the pitfalls and lessons learned from the country’s past and present security strategies, and lays out the basis for an alternative approach to understanding and tackling non-conventional armed violence. Based on a careful analysis of the dynamic and hybrid character of these groups, the report argues for an approach that prioritises the fight against corruption and the protection of embattled communities through localised prevention, geographic sequencing and knowledge-based policing.
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