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Ciudad Juárez, Mexico once again listed as one of the most deadliest cities in the world

April 17, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Ciudad Juárez, Mexico once again listed as one of the most deadliest cities in the world

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The Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez has once again been dubbed one of the most deadly cities in the world, according to a group that releases annual statistics.

The Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, a Mexico-based think tank, has listed Juárez as 37th out of the 50 most dangerous cities worldwide with a population of over 300,000. The ranking occurs after Ciudad Juárez had fallen off the list in 2016.

Juárez was among eight other cities in Mexico on the list, which included Acapulco listed as number 2. The most violent city worldwide was Caracas, Venezuela. Four U.S. cities were also listed, including St. Louis, Missouri, Baltimore, Maryland, New Orleans, Lousiana, and Detroit, Michigan.

Authorities capture the Sinaloa cartel’s top operator in the Juarez Valley

Ciudad Juárez’s return to the list — as well as that of Chihuahua and Mazatlán, which were taken off the list in 2015 and 2012, respectively — is an illustration depicting how violence has escalated across Mexico and attempts to control it have completely failed, according to José Antonio Ortega Sánchez, president of the Citizens Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice.

The statistics are based on homicides that took place in 2016 and don’t include deaths in combat areas or cities with unavailable data.

Authorities arrested a group of gunmen following a recent shootout in the Juarez Valley (Photo: Courtesy Juárez police department)

The nonprofit organization said that Juárez had a rate of 43.63 homicides per 100,000 last year — which was almost two times higher than the year prior.

According to the report, Juárez has a population of 1.391 million.

Still, the present rate is a small percentage of the 229 killings per 100,000 residents that occurred in 2010, which was the city’s bloodiest year when Juárez ranked first.

Leader of Juarez Cartel faction killed in shootout with rival in Mexican border state of Chihuahua

The city was listed second in 2011, 19th in 2012, and 37th in 2013, and 27th in 2014 before being removed from the list.

Juárez Mayor Armando Cabada acknowledged that violence in Juárez has increased, in part, because of reforms to the penal code in June that have led to what he refers to as a “revolving door” effect.

“Instead of being in jail, criminals are in the streets and up to their old ways,” Cabada said, adding that low-scale drug dealers are being put back on the streets within hours after their arrest.

Juárez police search bars during a recent crime-prevention operation. (Photo: Courtesy Juárez police department)

The changes, some contend, left huge loopholes that provide suspected criminals more freedom and makes it harder for authorities to arrest and prosecute them.

Officials have said the surge in murders is related to disputes over small-scale drug deals involving crystal meth.

However, security experts have attributed the violence to the presence of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, who are now disputing the territory against the Sinaloa Cartel and remnants of La Linea.

Crystal meth blamed for return of violence in Ciudad Juárez with over 200 intentional homicides committed this year

The increased violence also occurred as political changes are implemented in Mexico, according to experts.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, Mexico’s ruling party, was kicked out of power in Juárez and Chihuahua during the elections in June 2016.

According to the report, there were 607 murders in Juárez in 2016.

However, the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office indicated the body count for that year was only 543.

The state agency dismissed the findings, referring to them as “biased and opinionated.”

The body of a victim of drug cartel violence being moved by authorities in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, one of the deadliest places in the world.

“The statistic is biased because it takes into consideration cities with over 300,000 residents and does not consider other (cities) with smaller populations that, despite being more violent, are excluded,” the agency said in a statement.

Furthermore, the agency argued that the methods used in the report “adds arbitrarily” more murders in Juárez and Chihuahua without concrete evidence.

The state agency contends that the study only considers the number of deaths and not the total amount of violent crimes against individuals, which results in an incorrect statistic.

In the report, Ortega-Sánchez said the ranking for Juárez and other Mexican cities were based on data from Mexico’s National System of Public Security and the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, which is the country’s census bureau.

Coroners outside a barber shop in Juarez where five people were executed in October 2016

Although there may be discrepancies in the number of killing between the two agencies, they are likely small, officials claim.

Juárez media reported last weekend that at least 80 murders were not included in the state attorney general’s office data for 2014 and 2015.

“In total, there were 80 homicides that were not reported in the statistics in two years, and we still have to analyze 2016,” a state attorney general’s office spokesperson told El Diario de Juárez.

Ortega Sánchez noted that violence in Venezuela and Mexico has been “because of the negligence and ineptitude of leaders and in their disdain on how impunity has been growing, especially in homicides.”

He said 93% of murders in Mexico remain unsolved, a rate that’s even higher in some states. In Chihuahua, for example, that rate is 94%, while in Guerrero, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas are at 99%.

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