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Mexico murder rate in 2017 higher than previously thought

August 4, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Mexico murder rate in 2017 higher than previously thought 2017 Homicides in Mexico have skyrocketed to levels not seen since 2011

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The number of murders that took place in Mexico in 2017 was larger than initially thought, with the country’s national statistics institute INEGI revealing Monday that there were 31,174 homicides last year.

That is the most since comparable documents began being kept in 1997, including the top year of the drug war in 2011.

The Interior Ministry previously recorded 29,168 murders for 2017.

Information from the statistics institute is seen as more thorough since INEGI hits morgues and public registries to collect data. The Interior Ministry counts murder investigations that could involve multiple victims, thus underrepresenting crimes.

INEGI said the murder rate in 2017 broke down to 25 per 100,000 inhabitants — close to the levels seen in Brazil and Colombia at 27 per 100,000. Mexico’s number was 20 per 100,000 people the year prior.

Honduras and El Salvador — which are amongst the deadliest countries in the world — have murder rates of roughly 60 per 100,000. Some cities in the United States, such as Chicago, Detroit, and New Orleans, also surpass Mexico’s per-capita homicide rate.

However, some areas in Mexico are uniquely violent.

The deadliest state in Mexico is Colima, which is located on the Pacific coast, where murders increased 38% last year to a homicide rate of 113 per 100,000.

The number in Baja California, which is where the border city Tijuana if located, almost doubled as the Jalisco New Generation and Sinaloa cartels fought over drug trafficking territories.

“The country is in a public security crisis,” Alejandro Schtulmann, president of Mexico City-based political risk firm EMPRA, stated.

Along with the fights between criminal groups for territory in states such as Baja California and Quintana Roo, fuel theft has become more violent and extortion cases are increasing.

States in the central portion of the country such as Guanajuato and Puebla, recognized for their agricultural output and growing manufacturing base, have seen death rates increase in recent years because of fuel theft from pipelines managed by the national oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos.

“The problem is not just the murder rate,” Schtulmann added. “More citizens are being affected by crime than ever before in Mexican history.”

Schtulmann discussed a recent wave of property crimes, murders of politicians in this year’s elections and efforts to extort businesses in affluent neighborhoods like Polanco in the Mexican capital as indications that criminal activity is infringing on more territory and affecting more parts of the population.

President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who will assume office on December 1st, has said he will fight crime by launching educational and employment opportunities for disenchanted youth.

Schtulmann thinks that Lopez Obrador’s proposals are bit obscure, saying Mexico anything needs to improve state security since thinly stretched federal resources often can’t cover all the troubled areas.

“We are talking about long-term efforts. This is not going to go away from one day to another,” Schtulmann continued. “If the opportunity and the impunity are there, criminals will keep committing crimes.”

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