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Column 011915 Wall

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mexico has released its Crime Statistics for most of 2014

By Allan Wall

Each new year, statistics on Mexican crime and violence from the previous year are released and examined.

 

It’s a grisly business, examining statistics representing real people who were crime victims, including those who were killed.

 

What analysts are looking for are long-term trends – which direction are the statistics heading?  And that’s not easy.

 

A few caveats are in order.

 

First off, the statistics themselves are in dispute.  Many distrust the official government statistics, so newspapers and NGOs try to come out with their own statistics.  There is much uncertainty, but one has to start somewhere.

 

The Mexican public does not have a high level of confidence in the police, and many crimes are never reported to officials.  So whatever the stats say, it’s probably higher.  The question is, how much higher?

 

You can depend upon politicians (in any country) to spin the stats in their favor.  Be it ever so high, a decreasing crime rate is touted as a great accomplishment by an incumbent government.  Opposition politicians, on the other hand, can be expected to paint as bad a picture as possible.  It comes with the territory.

 

The SNSP (Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública) is an inter-departmental organ of the Mexican government, and it recently released crime statistics for January-November 2014.

 

The SNSP’s official total of homicides for the eleven-month period was 14,413.

 

The statistics also broke down the homicide count by state.  The Mexican state with the highest murder rate was the Estado de México, known also as “Edomex,” which had a total of 1,806 murders, an increase over the 2013 total of 1,772.

 

In second place was southern Guerrero state, with 1,394 murders.  According to the statistics, that figure was actually lower than the 2013 figure of 1,916.

 

One might take the Guerrero figures with a grain of salt, as this state is plagued with unsolved cases and constant discoveries of clandestine graves.  The most notorious criminal case in Guerrero in 2014 was the lethal attack on college students (and others) in Iguala, and the subsequent disappearance of 43 of them, only one of whose remains have been positively identified.

 

The northern border state of Chihuahua had Mexico’s third-highest murder rate, with 995.  If the stats are correct, that would be a significant reduction from the previously year’s tally of 1,336.

 

As for the rest of Mexico’s states, all showed a decrease in homicides with the exceptions of Baja California Sur (49 to 65), Hidalgo (117 to 134), Michoacan (805 to 882), Oaxaca (481 to 583), Tabasco (126 to 158), Tamaulipas (509 to 596), and Yucatan (35 to 39).

 

As for kidnappings, the SNSP reported 1,332.

 

The number one state for kidnappings was Tamaulipas, located at the far north of Mexico’s Gulf Coast, on the border with Texas.  Tamaulipas had 244 officially-reported kidnappings, an increase from the 2013 tally of 191.

 

In second place was Edomex (the Estado de México), with 162 kidnappings, down from 176 in 2013.

 

In third place was the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, with 138 kidnappings, an increase from the 2013 tally of 101.

 

In fourth place was Morelos, with 110 kidnappings, down from 141 in 2013.

 

Guerrero state was in fifth place with 104 officially-reported kidnappings.  That would actually be a decrease from 200 of the previous year.  Given all the mayhem in Guerrero, the actual figures are likely higher.

 

Michoacan was in sixth place with 102 kidnappings, which would be a decrease from the previous year’s figure of 178.

 

The state of Jalisco had the highest tally for cases of extortion at 951, which however would be a decrease from the 2013 figure of 1,552.

 

I would take all the extortion statistics with a big grain of salt, as the very nature of extortion indicates that many, if not most, cases are never reported to police.  Suffice it to say that it’s a big problem in Mexican society.

 

The auto theft figures might be closer to the truth, and are divided into violent and non-violent car thefts.

 

In total there were 44,399 reported cases of non-violent auto theft nationwide and 106,812 cases of violent auto theft.

 

The state with the highest tally of non-violent auto theft was Edomex, with 22,399, approximately half the nationwide total in that category.

 

Edomex also led in the category of violent car thefts, with 22,834.

 

These are the SNSP’s statistics for January – November of 2014, along with stats from 2013.

 

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Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years.  His website is located at http://www.allanwall.info.

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