You would think that a country which is known for providing the world with the largest drug cartels on the planet, would have terrible levels of policing, and you would be absolutely right. I haven’t ventured into Sinaloa or Jalisco to experience the policing skills up there, but I don’t think I ‘d be shooting too wide of the mark to suggest that the law is not what they are likely to be enforcing.
I have had the odd run in with police here in DF ( Mexico City,) although nothing too severe thankfully, I have also spoken at length with friends, Uber drivers and fellow Mexicans about the police and their attitudes in this city, the truth is not great.
I’m told regularly that tourists are given a great amount of protection from the police as they do not want bad press about some shit going down with a foreign national. If this is the case, I haven’t seen much of it. The police shook me and a friend down for £80 on my first night here and a friendly copper thought putting a gun in my face for venting my frustration at not being able to cross a road, would be a fitting way to remind me to pipe down.
The Greatest Show on Earth
The police here love nothing more than trooping round the more classy and touristy neighbourhoods of the city to offer a show of force, in reality this is nothing more than a moving circus, designed to deceive.
In early January there was widespread pandemonium after President Peña Nieto decided to deal with a rising inflation rate and a weakening currency by removing fuel subsidies, a move which saw fuel prices shoot up 20% overnight, and one which caused the country to rise up in protest. It didn’t take long for protests to turn into fully blown looting sessions such as what went down in Tottenham after the Mark Duggan shooting, an honest outcry seemingly has the power to turn everyone into thieving little cunts.
The problem that quickly came to light in Mexico however was that in the majority of social media videos that showed the true colours of the looters, those colours just so happened to be the dark blue of the nation’s most trusted servants, the police, looting like pirates.
Now for the scary stuff, you can bribe the police to forget just about anything in this city, and in the nation too, nothing is too big that it cannot ‘go away’. On the face of it this seems like a sweet deal, get caught speeding, pay a bung, steal, pay it away and you could even knock someone out in front of an officer and as long as you are generous enough, nothing will happen. It all sounds pretty good until you realise that there are people committing murder in the country and paying officers to make it go away.
Just last year a group of rich kids who called themselves Los Porkys were arrested in Spain for the gang-rape of an underage girl and under suspicion of many more violations. Such is the power that the rich have in this country, the victims were ignored by police, or simply didn’t even bother to speak out as they knew that nothing would happen, it was only when the people of Veracruz, where the attacks took place, began to march, that the authorities stood up and noticed
The police in this country are not respected at all, they are paid very little by this fractured government and the result of this is that they take all that they can get. They should not be completely blamed for their lack of a moral compass, most will have mouths at home that they need to feed. The piss poor wages of around £500 per month, which this government thinks can be somehow justified when you are asking these men and women to stand on the frontline, is a contributory factor in the deep rooted corruption amongst local law enforcement.
No city is perfect of course and despite my issues with law enforcement here, I love this country, this city and it is where my girlfriend and I call home, because we have chosen to, good or bad.
Is Mexico City safe? As safe as any capital city is, there are bad areas which you need to learn to avoid. Do the police provide adequate protection? They wouldn’t be on my list of people to call unless some really bad shit went down, put it that way.