But while the news is bad in [Acapulco and Monterrey], other areas have experienced a significant lessening of violence. The foremost is Juarez, the border city in Chihuahua, which has for the last several years enjoyed the dubious designation of Mexico’s most dangerous city.
While it remains exceedingly bloody, Juarez is far safer than it was in 2010: with 1,065 murders through August, it is on pace for just under 1,600 murders, a murder rate of roughly 120 per 100,000 residents. In 2010, the city registered some 3,000 murders and a murder rate of roughly 250 per 100,000.
The drop in violence in Juarez is driving a broader decline in murders in Chihuahua, though one that is not nearly as marked. With 2,147 murders through eight months, the state is on pace for slightly more than 3,220 murders this year, compared to 3,514 in 2010, according to the SNSP.
Another region where murders have dropped is Baja California, the Pacific border state that is home to Tijuana and Mexicali. With 464 murders so far in 2011, the state, which has long been among the regions most readily associated with organized crime violence, is on pace for 696 murders this year. That would give Baja a murder rate of 22, comparable to the nationwide average. In 2010, in contrast, Baja California was the site of close to 900 murders. Part of this drop may be due to what's been called a "Pax Tijuana," whereby two large criminal forces reach a business arrangement, thus reducing the competition and acts of bloodshed.
Taken together, the picture is one of a nation growing slightly more violent, with the violence growing significantly more dispersed. The Calderon government has long responded to critics by pointing out the violence is concentrated in a relatively small number of areas, Tijuana and Juarez prominently among them. However, even as the violence drops in some of these hot spots, it is more than balanced by the increases in formerly tranquil oases like Monterrey.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Murders in 2011
I had a piece earlier this week about the recently released data on murders in Mexico in 2011 (through August). Highlights: