Truck Hijacking Is A Serious Risk In Mexico
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is struggling to reduce violent crime. Security issues are a major problem for companies looking to ship goods through central Mexico. During 2022, Ford, Danone, and drone-maker DJI have all reported cargo hijacking incidents in Mexico. Between 2015 and the mid-way point of 2022, Mexico recorded 61,806 violent truck cargo robberies. The official statistics likely significantly undercount the true incidence of violent truck cargo robberies in Mexico. According to government figures, Mexico recorded 3717 truck hijackings during the first half of 2022, up 4.9% from the 3543 recorded in the first six months of 2021. In 2022, the frequency with which violence is used during truck hijackings has increased. During the first half of 2022, Mexico recorded 544 incidents of non-violent cargo theft. Overall, violent robberies and hijackings accounted for 87.2% of cargo lost to theft or robbery during the first six months of 2022, up from 84.7% in 2021.
While the northern border region reports relatively few incidents of cargo truck hijackings, the central states of Mexico State and Puebla are major hotspots for violent truck robberies.
On March 25, criminals shot and killed a truck driver in Puebla.
On April 7, armed criminals in Mexico State shot a police officer who was guarding a truck and kidnapped the driver.
On July 3, a truck driver was shot and injured during an attempted robbery in Puebla.
Total, Mexico State, which surrounds Mexico City, recorded 2,034 violent truck cargo robberies during the first half of 2022, or just under half (48%) of total truck hijackings. The nearby states of Puebla (773 incidents) and Michoacan (343) were the next highest incidence states for violent truck cargo robbery. Overall, these three states accounted for more than 8 out every 10 (85%) of the violent truck robberies that occurred in Mexico during the first six months of 2022.
Mexico’s northern border states that abut the U.S. recorded relatively few incidents of cargo robbery during 2021 and 2022. Total, the states of Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas recorded just 67 incidents of violent truck hijackings during the first half of 2022. Overall, northern border states accounted for just 1.8% of the violent truck cargo robberies reported in Mexico during the first six months of 2022.
Overall, Nuevo Leon was the highest risk border state with 52 incidents, or just over three quarters (77.6%) of the total number of violent truck cargo robberies and hijackings recorded in border states. Coahuila recorded zero cases of violent truck cargo robbery. The state of Chihuahua, where Ciudad Juarez is located, recorded only 2 incidents during the first half of 2022.
Most truck hijackings in Mexico occur while the truck is in transit. Most incidents happen during daylight hours. In the vast majority of cases (87%), criminals kidnap the driver along with the truck. Overall, cargo robbery and truck hijackings are a serious political risk issue that executives at companies doing due diligence on potential investments in Mexico need to understand.
Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador is working to attract new investment in manufacturing and infrastructure to southern Mexico. He needs to do more to address Mexico’s ongoing security problems. President Lopez Obrador has embraced a militarized security strategy, using the armed forces and National Guard troops to discourage crime. He has placed far less emphasis on recruiting and training civilian police and empowering them to investigate and arrest criminals. The ongoing problem of violent truck hijacking highlights the flaws in President Lopez Obrador’s security strategy.