Where Troops Surged in Mexico, So Did Homicides

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Graphics published by Nexos magazine argue that Mexico’s homicide rate spiked in places where President Felipe Calderon deployed the military.

The Nexos piece was prepared by noted sociologist and crime analyst Fernando Escalante, who takes his data from the National Institute for Statistics and Geography, known by its Spanish acronym ICESI, which is the main agency responsible for maintaining the country’s census data.

The Calderon government previously released their own numbers tracking the rising homicide rates in Mexico. 

The following chart shows how sharply Mexico’s murder rate peaked between 2008 and 2009, from 8 homicides to 18 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Escalante argues that the violence spiked in places where the government sent the military to fight drug trafficking gangs. This includes the states of Guerrero, Michoacan, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, which have some of the highest homicide rates in the country. These are also where Mexico’s most powerful criminal syndicates, the Gulf Cartel, the Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel, are engaged in an all out war over territory, the epicenter of which is Ciudad Juarez, which saw record murder rates last year. After the military began patrolling Ciudad Juarez, Chihuaua in 2007, Escalante writes, statewide homicide rates rose from 14.4 murders per 100,000 people to 75.2 in 2008 and 108.5 in 2009.

The chart below compares the homicide rates in states where the government deployed the surge in troops versus the rest of the country.

The following chart breaks down homicide rates by state, comparing the 2006-2007 period and the 2008-2009.

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