Mexico murders rates rising in 2016

Data compiled by a Mexican civil society group confirms a disturbing trend noted in Mexico in recent months -- violence is not only rising sharply it is also spreading to regions not previously considered organized crime hotspots.

During the first trimester of 2016, Mexican organization Semáforo Delictivo documented a 15 percent increase in homicides related to organized crime. The group's director, Santiago Roel, said 57 percent of total homicides this year were the result of criminal executions, up from 48 percent for the same period in 2015, reported Excelsior.

In total, Semáforo Delictivo registered 4,456 homicides during the first three months of 2016 -- up from 3,862 in 2015 -- putting Mexico on pace to have around 18,000 murders this year.

The states found to have the highest homicide rates were: Colima (17.7 per 100,000 citizens), Guerrero (14.5), and Sinaloa (8.3). Those with the least were: Nayarit (0.9), Aguascalientes (0.7), and Yucatán (0.7). Guerrero had the largest number of homicides potentially linked to organized crime, with 436.

Semáforo Delictivo, which translates to "Criminal Stoplight," also measures incidences of other high impact crimes in Mexico, and found a 12 and 9 percent decrease in extortion and kidnapping, respectively, during the first trimester of 2016.

Overall, Colima, Guerrero, and Morelos were identified as the states with the largest deterioration in their security conditions this year, with the organization emphasizing the situation of Colima as particularly alarming, reported Animal Politico.

InSight Crime Analysis

Semáforo Delictivo's data confirms previous observations of a worrisome trend: Mexico's homicide rates are climbing.

The Mexican government recently released statistics showing that March saw 1,725 homicide victims, the highest since January 2014 when such data first started being compiled. Moreover, official government data reported 3,158 murders during January and February, an 11 percent increase over the same period in 2015.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Homicides

Mexico's increasing homicide levels are in part being driven by geographic regions typically associated with violence and criminal activity, most notably Guerrero. Indeed, the security situation of Guerrero's once proud tourist-mecca of Acapulco continues to be critical with official figures showing 332 people killed in the city so far this year despite a number of security operations aiming to restore calm in recent years. One Mexican civil society organization recently ranked Acapulco the country's most violent municipality, with violence levels nearly four times that the national average.

However, Mexico's rising homicide trend is even more troubling for the increases in places one might not immediately suspect, such as Colima. In 2015 Colima did not even register among Mexico's top five most violent states, but an increase in homicides of over 300 percent has helped make it Mexico's most violent state for the first time ever.

Investigations

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