Homicides in the city and the surrounding state of Nuevo Leon more than tripled last year, to 828, state prosecutors said, and January’s tally of 144 killings was the highest on record.What the authors neglect to tell you is that there are some 4.6 million people in Nuevo León, and 828 killings amounts to a murder rate of 18 per 100,000. That's a relatively high number, but it's roughly equal to Tulsa's, less than Kansas City's, and about 1/15th of the corresponding figure for Juárez. It's not the sign of an area in which everyone risks their lives simply by living there.
A tripling of the murder rate, which promises to rise substantially again in 2011, is scary wherever you are, and the specific elements of the killings in Monterrey --i.e. police officers getting killed, running gun battles in the streets with assault rifles, et cetera-- makes it more worrying still. Plus, not everything can be measured in killings, and other elements of the drug war symptoms --extortion, kidnapping-- are making Monterrey far more dangerous than it used to be. But by offering the number of murders as evidence of chaos without the piece of context, the city comes across as a bigger, wealthier version of Juárez, which it is not.