2011 Most Violent Year in Mexico Under Calderon: Report

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Newly released statistics showed that 2011 was the most violent year of President Calderon’s term, with homicides in Mexico more than doubling in several states.

New data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) revealed that 27,199 people were murdered in Mexico in 2011, making last year the most violent of Felipe Calderon’s presidency.

Compared to 2010, homicides increased 5.6 percent in 2011. Since 2005, the year before Calderon took office, murders have nearly tripled.

The state with the highest murder rate was Chihuahua, with 131 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2011, followed by Guerrero, Sinaloa, and Durango.

InSight Crime Analysis

In Nuevo Leon, Zacatecas, and Veracruz, homicides more than doubled in 2011 with violence in the first two states stemming primarily from the war between the Zetas and allies of their progenitors, the Gulf Cartel. In Veracruz, meanwhile, 2011 marked the beginning of the fight between the once-dominant Zetas and the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG). Last year also witnessed a number of mass killings, such as the dumping of 35 alleged Zetas in downtown Veracruz and the arson attack on the Casino Royale in Monterrey that left 52 dead.

The silver lining to the otherwise grim statistics is that the rise in homicides has slowed; the increase of 5.6 percent from 2010 to 2011 is a significant drop from the increase of 30 percent between 2009 and 2010.

Furthermore, there have been some improvements in certain regions. While Chihuahua once again had the highest murder rate in the country, the number of killings in the state decreased 30 percent from the previous year. Much of this is due to security gains in Ciudad Juarez, which witnessed a 45 percent drop in homicides between 2010 and 2011. As Insight Crime reported earlier in August, however, this decrease in violence may owe more to the victory of the Sinaloa Cartel over the Juarez Cartel than to any improvements made by the government.

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