What does the expression "robo hormiga" mean?

The "robo hormiga" poses one of the most significant dangers to companies doing business in Mexico due to the fact that the manner in which they function can result in financial losses that span millions of dollars across the nation.

What does the expression "robo hormiga" mean?
"Robo hormiga" of food. 31,000 cans of tuna, 18,000 bags of rice and 17,000 bags of beans disappear. Credit: La Nación

The "robo hormiga" is one of the main threats to businesses in Mexico , due to the fact that they are petty thefts, so it is complicated to detect and eliminate them; however they have left millionaire losses nationwide.

The Chamber of Commerce of Mexico City (Canaco), explained that at least half of the cases of "robo hormiga" are illegal acts carried out by organized gangs that plan this crime to supermarkets, department stores or convenience stores. In addition, this type of theft is more common on dates such as Three Kings Day or Children's Day.

"Robo hormiga" leaves losses of 160 billion pesos in Mexico

According to the Mexico City Chamber of Commerce (Canaco), losses due to "robo hormiga" in Mexico totaled 160 billion pesos last year (2021). On the other hand, the modality of "robo hormiga" has registered a 15% increase during the first seven months of the year (January-July). Therefore, to avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime, it is necessary to know how it works and how it can be identified.

What is "robo hormiga" and how to identify it?

Robo hormiga is a crime committed inside businesses and consists of the theft of products with little commercial value or in minimal quantities, but which represent a great economic loss for businesses in Mexico. According to the Chamber of Commerce of Mexico City (Canaco), ant theft is divided into several modalities; among the two main ones are the famous "farderas" (shoplifters) and the theft from warehouses.

The "farderas" are people who steal from small stores, such as supermarkets or local businesses, and are identified by hiding the products inside their clothes in a casual manner. Warehouse theft, on the other hand, is the theft of products in small quantities over long periods of time.

Shoplifting ("robo hormiga" in self-service stores) in the toy store area.