How data helped Mexico City reduce high-impact crime by more than 50%

Article by Alfredo Molina Ledesma: “When Claudia Sheimbaum Pardo became Mayor of Mexico City 2018, she wanted a new approach to tackling the city’s most pressing problems. Crime was at the very top of the agenda – only 7% of the city’s inhabitants considered it a safe place. New policies were needed to turn this around.

Data became a central part of the city’s new strategy. The Digital Agency for Public Innovation was created in 2019 – tasked with using data to help transform the city. To put this into action, the city administration immediately implemented an open data policy and launched their official data platform, Portal de Datos Abiertos. The policy and platform aimed to make data that Mexico City collects accessible to anyone: municipal agencies, businesses, academics, and ordinary people.

“The main objective of the open data strategy of Mexico City is to enable more people to make use of the data generated by the government in a simple and interactive manner,” said Jose Merino, Head of the Digital Agency for Public Innovation. “In other words, what we aim for is to democratize the access and use of information.” To achieve this goal a new tool for interactive data visualization called Sistema Ajolote was developed in open source and integrated into the Open Data Portal…

Information that had never been made public before, such as street-level crime from the Attorney General’s Office, is now accessible to everyone. Academics, businesses and civil society organizations can access the data to create solutions and innovations that complement the city’s new policies. One example is the successful “Hoyo de Crimen” app, which proposes safe travel routes based on the latest street-level crime data, enabling people to avoid crime hotspots as they walk or cycle through the city.

Since the introduction of the open data policy – which has contributed to a comprehensive crime reduction and social support strategy – high-impact crime in the city has decreased by 53%, and 43% of Mexico City residents now consider the city to be a safe place…(More)”.