Understanding theft patterns in the Mexican state of Puebla

Since 2022, Puebla, Mexico has presented average annual increases of 40% in cargo theft. Before 2019, it experienced more theft than any other state in Mexico. In the five years since, its concentration of theft has been the second highest. However, the steady increase in cargo theft in the state could soon land it back in first place. 

By understanding the unique risks in this area, shippers can more safely transport their cargo. Additionally, by keeping an eye on evolving threats, they’ll be better prepared for whatever’s next. 

A historical and geographical overview of Puebla 

The city of Puebla de Zaragoza, the state of Puebla’s capital, was founded in the 16th century. During the Mexican Revolution, Puebla played a key role in several major battles, including the Battle of Puebla. These victories are now celebrated every year on Cinco de Mayo. 

In the 17th century, trade in Puebla grew due to its positioning between Veracruz and Mexico City. By the 18th century, it had become an artistic and cultural hub. Today, Puebla is known for its traditional artworks and European and indigenous inspired cuisine. It also boasts a booming automotive industry and was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1987.  

At the same time, Puebla has a high population density and large flows of merchandise. Combined, these factors have led to spikes in crime. Worse, multiple highways surround and go through Puebla, which means even larger numbers of products are being transported through the state. These highways also make it easier for thieves to make off with stolen loads. 

Current crime statistics for the state of Puebla 

Each quarter, Overhaul compiles data regarding theft patterns in Mexico and other countries. During Q1-2024, our numbers revealed that 95% of the cargo theft events that occurred in Puebla involved the use of violence. In other words, approximately 9 out of 10 incidents involved criminals acting violently toward drivers or escorts. This reveals that the possibility of a violent event occurring in Puebla is greater than surrounding states. 

The Mexico-Veracruz highway (MEX-150D), which is the main connection between the port of Veracruz and the metropolitan area of Mexico City, accounts for 68% of cargo theft in Puebla. During the first quarter of 2024, the MEX-150D was positioned as the highway with the highest incidence of cargo theft at the national level, with a 16.3% concentration. 

45% of cargo theft on the MEX-150D occurred on the road section from San Martin Texmelucan to Amozoc. The municipalities of San Martin Texmelucan (13%), Puebla (12%), and Amozoc (9%) were the riskiest on this road section. This highway has two other hot spots in the municipalities of Esperanza (16%) and Acatzingo (7%). 

93% of criminal activities on this road occurred between Monday and Friday. Additionally, 51% of the incidents occurred at night between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Tractor-trailers were the main target of criminals. 

How to safely transport cargo through Puebla and surrounding areas 

The numbers above reveal several concerning patterns about thefts in Puebla. These patterns must be taken seriously in order to avoid risks.  

Due to constant criminal activities in the area and the high use of violence, we recommend extreme caution when driving through Puebla. This is especially true in regards to the Mexico-Veracruz highway (MEX-150D). Some suggested safety steps include avoiding nighttime transit and increasing your cargo’s security layers. This means employing physical measures such as locks and cameras while also using electronic devices to monitor goods. 

Fortunately, Overhaul can help you gain the intelligence and devices you need to safely transport your cargo. Our intel team is well-versed in the region and is able to provide real-time information concerning new and developing threats. Additionally, we offer different levels of support depending on your unique needs and budget.  

If you’re ready to learn more about our solutions, reach out for a demo today. And if you’re interested in learning more about cargo theft patterns in Mexico, download our recent infographic. 

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