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Column 010614 Wall

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sizing Up Mexico's 2013 Statistics on Killings and Violence

By Allan Wall

The analysis of murder statistics in Mexico has become a method of sizing up the security situation.  It’s rather morbid when you think about it, as these statistics represent real people who were killed.


What the analysts are looking for is trends. Is the violence going up or down?  It's hard to tell, as trends, by their very nature, take time to develop.


On January 2nd, 2014, Mexico's Milenio reported that the 2013 tally of organized crime related homicides was the lowest in four years.  Specifically, Milenio reported that there were 10,095 such killings in 2013.


In 2012 there were 12,412; in 2011 there were 12,284; in 2010 there were 12,658; and in 2009 Milenio reported there were 8,281 organized crime related homicides. 


According to Milenio's figures, then, there has been a decrease in such killings, with 2013's being the lowest since 2009.  It's a 19% decrease from 2012 to 2013.  Still, it's a lot of killing.  It boils down to an average of a murder every hour. 


Breaking the statistics down by state is also informative.  Nearly half the killings, 46%, were in only four states: Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Guerrero and Jalisco.


Chihuahua, for the sixth consecutive year, was the most violent state with 1,794 of these killings.  However, that was a 21% reduction from 2012's Chihuahua tally of 2,529.  Also, Chihuahua's 2013 tally was 62% down from that of 2010.


Sinaloa was in second place with 1,015 drug war killings.  However, the second half of the year showed a decrease over the first half of the year.


Guerrero state, with 916 such killings still had 487 fewer than the previous year.  The port city of Acapulco had 42% fewer killings than the previous year.


The state of Jalisco, on the other hand, had a 40% increase in such homicides over the previous year.  In 2013 there were 913 killings in Jalisco. That's including 60 bodies found in a mass grave in Zapopan.


The three states least afflicted with gangland killings were Campeche, with ten, and Baja California Sur and Yucatan with three apiece.


Milenio also reports that, overall, March was Mexico's most violent month in 2013, followed by January and February.  In fact, the first three months of 2013 accounted for 30% of the year's homicides.  The last three months of 2013 accounted for 19% of the total, with October as the month with the fewest killings.


So, is the violence in Mexico decreasing?  Is this a real trend or just a temporary glitch?


It's too early to say but we can certainly hope.


Meanwhile, kidnappings are on the increase.  According to the Mexican federal government, from January to November of 2013 kidnappings in Mexico increased 32% over the same time period in the previous year.


The entities with the biggest increases in kidnapping were Guerrero, Michoacan, Tamaulipas, Morelos, the state of Mexico, Veracruz and Tabasco.


Also in 2013, for the first time in a decade, there were no known killings of journalists in Mexico. 


Worldwide there were at least 70 journalists killed while doing their jobs, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.  The majority of these were in the Middle East, with twenty-nine killed in Syria, ten in Iraq and six in Egypt. 

An additional 25 other journalist deaths worldwide are under investigation, but it's not yet certain if their deaths were related to their journalism work.  The Committee to Protect Journalists is still investigating these cases.



Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years.  His website is located at

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