To Murder
in Mexico:

Ver versión en español

It is easy To Murder in Mexico without ever setting a foot in jail.

Or at least that’s what the numbers say: for every 100 cases of murder, only 5 result in a prison sentence for a perpetrator.

If we focused only on homicides between 2010 and 2016, it would take us 124 years to find the perpetrators, because that’s the pace at which the Mexican justice system works.

Even worse: as more authorities participate in discovering the identity of the murderers, the possibility of solving the crimes diminishes.

The beat cop, typically the first to arrive, doesn’t know how to preserve the body or the crime scene. It’s hard to expect too much of them when many of them earn less than 2,500 pesos a month.

The investigative policeman, who in other countries is a trained detective, usually relies on torture as an investigative tool.

The forensic specialist stacks the corpses on the street and gathers DNA samples he doesn’t even have the capacity or technology to process.

The “ministerio público” (the agent in charge of preparing the case for the prosecutor) is reduced to soliciting funds to speed up the investigation.

And the officials at the top of the pyramid spend millions in state-of-the-art devices that end up abandoned, while also using the criminal investigators as chauffeurs.

In the end, the victim’s family must accept that justice will never be served, that the crime against their daughter, father, wife, brother ... will go unpunished. Unless they carry out their own investigation or pay exorbitant sums.


Animal Político reviewed how each step in the investigation of a homicide works.

We examined questions like: How much does each policeman make? What tools do they have to carry out an investigation? How do they work with prosecutors? How do criminal cases reach the judge?

Each day, we will publish two articles: one featuring the version offered by authorities, and the other describing the tribulations of the victims’ families.

The conclusion is clear: far from the glamour of TV police shows, in Mexico people kill because they can. And prison is for the innocent who had the “bad luck” of running into a police officer eager to arrest somebody, or the perpetrators that were so sloppy that a prosecutor managed to convict them.




Solving a murder in Mexico is the exception, not the rule: it would take 124 years to solve all the murder cases

It’s been some years since Laura stopped counting dead people. “We are oblivious to them now,” she says. It’s just another body.

Read article

A victim, but also a police officer, a medical examiner, a district attorney…

Read article

There are no patrol cars, there are no criminalists nor technology to investigate crimes, but there are 35,000 unidentified bodies

Karen is a young specialist in chemistry, her work consists in studying the DNA of murder victims.

Read article

With neither resources nor experience, victims’ families become investigators

Read article

The truth is not important, arresting somebody is...even if he is innocent

When Alejandro, a criminal investigator with the Mexico City police, talks about “solving” a murder, he means bringing somebody before the judge. Any which way.

Read article

Fabricating culprits and deceiving the victims

Read article

Download poster

(with the complete description of the proceedings)