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Column 022315 Wall

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Most Violent County-like "Municipios" in Mexican States

By Allan Wall

The study of Mexican crime statistics is an ongoing enterprise.  Analysts are looking for trends in the violence, to see if things are getting better or worse, and where they are getting better or worse.


It’s a controversial area in which the reliability of the statistics themselves is doubted.  For one thing, many crimes in Mexico go unreported, as there is not much confidence in the criminal justice system, plus victims may fear further repercussions from the same criminals who attacked them.


Nevertheless, one has to start somewhere.  Even though the true figures are probably higher than reported, they can still give us a good idea of the trends and of the areas which are more dangerous than others.


One group researching crime statistics is a Mexican NGO (non-governmental organization) called the Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y Justicia Penal, A.C. (Citizen Council for Public Security and Penal Justice).  Hereafter this article refers to the group as CCSP-JP.


The president of the CCSP-JP is Jose Antonio Ortega Sanchez.


The CCSP-JP released a list of the world’s 50 cities with the highest homicide rates in 2014.  The statistics were based on homicide rates calculated per 100,000 inhabitants.  Of the 50 cities, 47 were in the Western Hemisphere.


Ten cities of Mexico were on that list.  In order of ranking of murder rates they were Acapulco, Culiacan, Ciudad Juarez, Ciudad Obregon, Nuevo Laredo, Ciudad Victoria, Chihuahua, Tijuana, Torreon, and Cuernavaca.  (See Ten Mexican Cities, and Four in the USA, on 50 Most Murderous List for more information on that list.)


Later, the CCSP-JP released a list of Mexico’s ten municipios with the highest crime rates in 2014.  The highest crime rate was that of the municipio of Cuernavaca.


Note that the Spanish term municipio is not equivalent to the English term city.


In the United States, which is organized by the English county system, municipal and county governments are separate jurisdictions.  Territory outside city limits is under county, not city, jurisdiction.


In Spanish-speaking countries this distinction does not exist.  The municipio is a jurisdictional subdivision of a state or comparable entity.  The government of the municipio, generally located in the territory’s principal city, has authority over the entire jurisdiction, including smaller cities and rural areas.


Mexico is divided into states, with each state divided into municipios.


Cuba, which I visited this past summer, is divided into provinces, with each province subdivided into municipios.  And so forth.


The CCSP-JP’s municipio crime list includes the 223 municipios in Mexico that have 100,000 inhabitants or more.  Among the municipios they included the jurisdictions called “delegaciones” of the Federal District (Mexico City).


The calculations utilize a formula which calculates the statistics not only of murder, as on the other list, but six violent crimes.


The crimes are homicidio doloso (willful homicide), secuestro (kidnapping), violación (rape), lesiones dolosas (malicious wounding – assault and battery in which the victim is seriously injured), robo con violencia (theft with violence, including armed robbery), and extorsión (extortion, which contains an implicit threat of violence).


The calculations use a point system: 55 points for homicidio doloso, 22 for kidnapping, 13 for rape, 4 for lesiones dolosas, 3 for robo con violencia, and 3 for extortion.


Using this formula, the group calculated the violent crime rates of all 223 municipios under consideration.


Here is the Top Ten list of the ten most violent Mexican municipios:

  1. Cuernavaca, Morelos (The violence rate is thrice Mexico's national average.)
  2. Acapulco, Guerrero
  3. Chilpancingo, Guerrero
  4. Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
  5. Playas de Rosarito, Baja California
  6. Tlalnepantla, State of Mexico
  7. Ecatepec, State of Mexico
  8. Naucalpan, State of Mexico
  9. Culiacan, Sinaloa
  10. Hidalgo del Parral, Chihuahua
These are the top ten most violent municipios in Mexico, according to the criteria laid out by the CCSP-JP.


As far as the six violent crimes on the list, here is the #1 municipio for each crime:

  • Murder: Acapulco, Guerrero
  • Kidnapping:  El Mante, Tamaulipas
  • Rape: Solidaridad, Quintana Roo
  • Malicious Wounding: Kanasin, Yucatan
  • Theft with Violence: Cuernavaca, Morelos
  • Extortion: Solidaridad, Quintana Roo

For more detailed information, go to the NGO’s website and click here for the Cuernavaca el municipio más violento de México; le siguen Acapulco y Chilpancingo.  From that article you can access an even more detailed report which rates all 223 municipios by general violent crime rate and by each of the six individual crimes.



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

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