In the major cities of Mexico, a worrying trend has grown in recent years: homicides and armed robberies on motorcycles, as well as the theft of these same vehicles, have become the most frequent and challenging crimes. To address this problem, innovative solutions are needed, along with the most advanced technology currently available to combat this situation: video surveillance based on artificial intelligence (AI).
In this article, we present a study conducted by the research team of Algotive, which demonstrates a statistical correlation, from strong to very strong, between the theft of motorcycles and other crimes in our country, such as murders, violent robberies, business robberies, auto parts theft, among others.
In addition to this analysis, a journalistic investigation is shown that helps to contextualize this problem. And finally, we explore the integration of artificial intelligence into video surveillance systems and how it helps effectively solve these crimes.
By leveraging the capabilities of AI, law enforcement agencies can improve their ability to prevent, investigate, and arrest criminals operating on motorcycles, ultimately striving for a safer society.
Table of contents:
- Why is motorcycle crime rising in Mexico?
- Mexican government officials admit the problem
- Intentional homicides on motorcycles
- Partial theft of vehicles on motorcycles
- Robbery of businesses on motorcycles
- Robbery on the streets on motorcycles
- The impact of motorcycle crimes
- The role of IA video surveillance
Why is motorcycle crime rising in Mexico?
The surge in motorcycle crime in Mexico can be attributed to a combination of simple yet intricate factors. With the rising number of motorcycles traversing Mexico's streets, there is a corresponding increase in the theft rates of motorcycles. These thefts occur through various means, ranging from violent incidents to other methods employed by criminals targeting the country's citizens.
The Veracruz Public Security Secretariat has indicated that crimes associated with the use of motorcycles include health violations, illegal carrying of firearms, intentional homicides, and robberies of businesses and passers-by. This situation is situated within the framework of the increase in motorcycle crime in Mexico, a phenomenon attributed to various factors.
This year, from January 1 to October 31, 2023, 34,149 stolen motorcycles were reported throughout the national territory. Of them, 8,104 were stolen with violence. However, this problem is only the threshold of a series of yearly crimes.
What truly raises alarm bells is the correlation between the surge in motorcycle thefts and the crimes committed using stolen motorcycles, according to an internal study on the matter. Criminals opt for motorcycles as tools of their trade due to their speed and compact size, offering them numerous escape routes.
Moreover, motorcycles are subject to less regulation by Traffic Laws and Federal Institutions compared to larger vehicles such as cars, vans, trucks, or pickups. Additionally, their affordability compared to other vehicles makes them a popular choice among criminals. These factors collectively contribute to the increased difficulty in locating and recovering stolen motorcycles.
According to Norberto Valle, a specialist in Security from the Nation Institute of Criminal Sciences (INACIPE), “The rates of crimes committed with motorcycles has exponentially increased in the last years, both in Mexico City and other cities like Guadalajara, León, Puebla, and Monterrey. We are talking about crimes such as robbery, blackmail, kidnappings, and homicides.”
In Mexico City, a shocking statistic reveals that 50% of all crimes are committed with the aid of a motorcycle. But the situation is even more dire in Mexico State, where a staggering 70% of crimes involve the use of motorcycles These numbers illustrate the alarming prevalence of motorcycles as tools of criminal activities in two of the most important urban centers in the country.
This issue has sparked widespread concern across the country, manifesting as a significant problem in numerous states. Here are some of the most alarming examples.
5 ALARMING MOTORCYCLE CRIME STATISTICS IN MEXICO
- In Guanajuato, more than 70% of crimes involved a motorcycle in some municipalities, including Celaya.
- In San Luis Potosí, 40% of robberies and executions in the state are committed with motorcycles.
- In 10 years, crimes committed with motorcycles in Puebla have increased by 200%, ranging from robbery against a pedestrian to intentional homicide with a firearm.
- In Campeche, 95% of crimes are committed on a motorcycle.
- More than 30% of the crimes committed in the southern area of Tamaulipas are commited on a motorcycle.
It is worth noting that a significant number of these crimes are executed using unregistered or stolen vehicles.
In the following sections, we will dig deeper into this multifaceted problem. Ultimately, we aim to propose a solution, recognizing that the safety and well-being of citizens should be one of the primary responsibilities and objectives of any governing body.
Mexican government officials admit the problem
Various officials in Mexico have expressed concern about the growing incidence of robberies and criminal acts perpetrated by individuals who use motorcycles as an agile vehicle as a means of escape.
Intentional homicides on motorcycles
Intentional homicide (known as First-degree murder in U.S. law) is one committed voluntarily with intent to kill, premeditation, or deliberation. The use of motorcycles in this kind of crime has increased in the last few years in Mexico.
As mentioned above, this problem is strongly linked to motorcycle theft. When analyzing the official data provided by the National Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System, more than 203,291 intentional homicides and more than 241,697 motorcycle thefts have been recorded nationwide until 2022, the last year counted by the country's authorities.1
As previously mentioned, this issue is strongly linked to motorcycle theft. By analyzing official data from the Executive Secretary of the National System of Public Safety and employing statistical analysis, we have quantified the degree of association between these two problems, resulting in an impressive correlation index of 0.92. To provide some context, the closer the index is to 1, the stronger the correlation.
We conducted the same study for each state in Mexico, and based on the findings, here are the top five states exhibiting the highest correlation.
1. Annual data from 2015 to 2022 correspond to the statistical study.
TOP 5 STATES WITH HIGH CORRELATION BETWEEN MOTORCYCLE THEFT AND INTENTIONAL HOMICIDES IN MEXICO
Clearly, there exists a significant correlation between motorcycle theft and intentional homicide involving the use of two-wheeled vehicles in five out of the 32 states.
Partial theft of vehicles on motorcycles
While intentional homicides are concerning issues that require immediate attention, they are not the only crimes strongly associated with motorcycle theft. Another significant crime category is the partial theft of vehicles.
By “partial theft of vehicles”, we refer to the crime of stealing one or several parts of a vehicle. Similar to homicides, motorcycles are being used by criminals to approach parked vehicles and steal different components from them. The two-wheeled vehicles are more difficult to detect both by patrolling officers or security cameras monitored by humans, which means that most of the time the crime has already been committed when (and if) it is reported.
In Tlaxcala, we see a worrying panorama since 3 out of every 10 crimes, highlighting robberies against pedestrians, account holders, and auto parts vehicles, are carried out using motorcycles. This trend, especially in the case of "auto parts theft" where criminals take advantage of the agile mobility of motorcycles to approach parked vehicles and steal different components, presents an additional challenge for public safety.
Analyzing official data from the National Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System, more than 132,226 thefts of auto parts and more than 241,697 thefts of motorcycles have been registered nationwide.1
Based on our study, we found a significant correlation between partial theft of vehicles and motorcycle theft, with a strong association reaching a coefficient of 0.91. This indicates a substantial link between these two issues. The top five states with the highest correlation between these problems were as follows.
TOP 5 STATES WITH HIGH CORRELATION BETWEEN MOTORCYCLE THEFT AND PARTIAL THEFT OF VEHICLES IN MEXICO
Stolen motorcycles are also used to commit other types of robberies, but with a slightly lower degree of association: robbery to businesses and passersby.
Robbery to businesses on motorcycles
Business theft is defined as the action of appropriating another's property or funds without the legitimate consent of the owner. This illicit activity affects various establishments, including stores, restaurants, and banks, where perpetrators seek to obtain improper profits at the expense of the financial integrity of business owners and clients.
Analyzing official data from the National Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System, more than 768,454 business robberies and 241,697 motorcycle thefts have been recorded nationwide.1 As can be inferred by the tendency of this article, stolen motorcycles are also highly related to this kind of crime as they are used as escape vehicles after robberies. The degree of association for this type of crime is 0.71, which still represents a strong correlation.
TOP 5 STATES WITH HIGH CORRELATION BETWEEN MOTORCYCLE THEFT AND ROBBERY TO BUSINESSES WITH VIOLENCE IN MEXICO
This means there is a high probability that business robberies will be perpetrated with the help of a stolen motorcycle in our country, particularly in these five states. As we have said before, the size and speed of the two-wheeled vehicle is a very effective tool for these crimes.
The motorcycles recovered after being stolen are subsequently used in various crimes, such as robberies of businesses and homes and assaults on passers-by, among others, according to Consuelo Cruz Galindo, head of the Secretariat of Citizen Security (SSC).
As we mentioned above, stores and restaurants are not the only victims of motorcycle crimes. Pedestrians are also common targets who are left defenseless against the criminal's use of weapons.
Robbery on the streets on motorcycles
Pedestrian robbery is one of the most common crimes in Mexico.
According to the National Survey of Victimization and Perception of Public Security (ENVIPE), the second most frequent crime was robbery or assault on the street or public transport, presenting a rate of 5,689 crimes per 100 thousand citizens in 2022.
Although there are countless modus operandi, our studies have proven that there is a substantial degree of association between assaults and motorcycle theft.
Analyzing official data from the National Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System, more than 615,534 robberies of pedestrians on public roads and more than 241,697 motorcycle thefts have been registered nationwide.1
The Secretariat of Public Security and Citizen Protection (SSPC) estimates that 30% of business robberies in Tabasco were perpetrated by criminals who used motorcycles.
1.Annual data from 2015 to 2022 correspond to the statistical study.
TOP 5 STATES WITH HIGH CORRELATION BETWEEN MOTORCYCLE THEFT AND ROBBERY ON THE STREETS IN MEXICO
As can be seen, the index for this type of crime is lower than the ones mentioned before. This could be because criminals use several other vehicles for mugging. Furthermore, muggings could be perpetrated by walking criminals as well, on the streets or public transportation. Still, robberies using a motorcycle are a widespread crime and must not be overseen by any means.
CORRELATIONS BETWEEN MOTORCYCLE THEFT AND OTHER CRIMES IN MEXICO
The correlation coefficient indicates the value of the intensity or strength of the association between motorcycle theft and other crimes; the closer the index gets to 1, the stronger the correlation.
The impact of motorcycle crimes
We can observe that this issue has escalated in places like Baja California, which has reached a very strong degree of association between motorcycle theft and intentional homicide. Jalisco also figures in the top-rated states for these crimes, with business robbery.
We must also consider that these figures are based on the official numbers made accessible to the public by the Executive Secretary of the National System of Public Safety of México. However, according to the information provided by the INEGI in the 2022 National Survey of Victimization and Perception of Public Security (ENPIVE), it has revealed that only 10.9% of the crimes committed were reported, a figure that shows a statistically significant increase in comparison with the year 2021.
It is essential to highlight that the Public Ministry or the state Prosecutor's Office initiated an investigation in 69.3% of these complaints. This indicates that a considerable 92.4% of crimes were not the subject of investigation, known as the hidden figure. Notably, the percentage of the hidden figure in 2022 was statistically lower than that registered in 2021, which was 93.2%.
If a proper culture of crime reporting existed in México, the degree of association between motorcycle theft and the crimes mentioned would be more accurate and, evidently, more alarming in many states that do not figure in these statistics.
After this summary of a well-known issue, we can better appreciate how motorcycle theft affects the safety of Mexican citizens as it is a threshold for other crimes which include partial theft of vehicles, robberies, and even homicide. The numbers presented in this investigation must raise red flags in our society as this issue has become a plague that only the joint efforts of federal, municipal, and state governments could diminish, if not eradicate.
But merely human efforts have proven insufficient so far. Currently, technology has evolved to help us tackle these worrying issues.
The role of IA video surveillance
New technological developments will play a significant role in ensuring the safety of citizens worldwide.
In Mexico, video surveillance has been implemented by the government and its law-enforcement branches to prevent, detect, and pursue several crimes. The C2s, C4s, and C5s are the institutions whose role is to review the footage provided by the network of cameras spread through the cities of different states. You can learn more about them in our article here.
While this measure has worked to decrease crime rates in several cities, it is still not enough since most of its methods rely completely on the human eye and are vulnerable to human error.
This issue could be resolved by implementing an Intelligent System into these functional video surveillance systems. An Intelligent System is a network of technologies that work together with humans to solve complex problems efficiently. Perhaps the best-known element of these systems is Artificial Intelligence, which is becoming more and more popular nowadays for making people’s tasks easier and, in some cases, better.
Implemented into public safety, Artificial Intelligence will prove to be of the utmost importance as it can adapt and learn behaviors based on rationality and social norms. AIs can be implemented in video surveillance to carry out features like facial recognition, crowd management, and object detection, which result particularly helpful and efficient when dealing with motorcycles and motorcycle theft.
AI video surveillance can help flag stolen vehicles and, when trained, it can detect and follow these motorcycles through the network of cameras in the city, reducing human error. This technology might be essential to prevent, detect, and reduce motorcycle theft and, thus, other crimes for which the stolen vehicles are used.
IA video surveillance will be a necessity for every city in the world that wants to make their streets safer and their citizens happier.