Towards a macro-theory of crime in Mexico

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 rates for all crimes (i.e. the most general test possible for both theories) in 2010.

Results of spatial analysis showed both theories quite 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:

  • 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.
  • The predictive capacity of these theories varied across municipalities in the MCMA, meaning that crime prevention actions may vary geographically.
  • In terms of crime prevention policy, results suggest a combination of social crime prevention and situational crime prevention policies.
  • Increases in social policy programs for working mothers and making tax deductible the costs of home and business security systems would be beneficial for residents in the MCMA and most probably in other urban areas.
  • Crime and fear of crime caused costs and damages for 25.4 billion USD in 2012.
  • Yet, the federal government will spend this 2014, approximately 190 million USD in social crime prevention policy versus almost 1 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 can be downloaded from my website at:

Or directly at:

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