Pachuca Paints Itself Is a Colorful and Social Reconstruction Project
The National Program for the Social Prevention of Violence and Crime invested five million pesos (more than $300,000) in what has become an emblematic site. Now the neighborhood of Palmitas in Pachuca (Hidalgo), Mexico, not only hosts the country’s largest and most colorful mural, but is also part of a comprehensive prevention project that has resulted in the reduction of violence in the community.
By Eunice Rendón Cárdenas
PPT National Program for Social Prevention of Violence and Crime Interministerial Commission,
Government of Mexico
Mexico City – Due to the Ministry of the Interior’s National Initiative Program for the Prevention of Violence and Delinquency, the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, has successfully
promoted a social intervention model that has brought national and international attention to this country’s largest mural.
“Pachuca Paints Itself,” as the mural is called, is a comprehensive prevention model that combines strategies for recovering public space, social reconstruction, youth employability, citizen participation,
and social cohesion. Collaboration takes part between the three levels of government, the collective
German Crew, the private sector, and the community; especially the youth who now feel valued and an integral part of their community.
The project’s key factor is the community. The mural’s success is due to the inclusive processes that took place during its first phase, as well as the reflection, recognition of tradition, culture, local history, consensus building, and active citizen participation in the painting of the houses. As a result, people have appropriated the public space and strengthened the social relations between the members of the community.
The second phase will include walking tours through the neighborhood to visit the murals and its illustration of the community’s identity.
The project began in 2014 with the goal of reducing the risk factors associated to violence and crime that put the community of Palmitas – particularly its younger generation-in vulnerable conditions.
The project also represents an opportunity for employment and access to life-skills training for these young people.
A reduction of the crime rate in the community is among the most important outcomes. According to the Ministry of Public Security & Municipal Transit and the Command Control and Communications Center (C2), the incidents of theft and assault are estimated to have decreased by 26.1 percent, while administrative offenses have decreased by 41.6 percent1. Mexico’s Government and the National Prevention Policy see the public spaces as one of the key pillars for community cohesion; promoting an environment of healthy coexistence and harmony, and a hub for situational
prevention. Its strategies include:
• Design, intervene, recover, and build public spaces for situational prevention by changing the urban environment with the involvement and active participation of the community to ensure proper appropriation.
• Actions seeking the healthy use of free time and the appropriation of public spaces with the intention of harmony and community cohesion through cultural and artistic activities.
• Developing skills between the community and police for better communication and mutual trust, in order to create and strengthen relations by promoting a community-policing approach.
1 The Ministry of Public Security and Municipal Transit / The Command Control and Communications Center (C2) Incidence of theft and assault: 42 in 2012; 31 in 2014.Incidence of administrative offenses: 48 in 2012; 2