Security sources have told Menas Associates that this year has seen the highest number of homicides in 20 years, and the trend is expected to continue rising. Although data on homicides is only available from 1997, the figures through to October make it the most violent year on record. November has been the most violent month with an average of four homicides an hour.
Some sources believe that official statistics are still not accounting for the current state of violence in Mexico because the actual numbers could be under-reported or manipulated by the state governments before they are submitted to the federal authorities. Nevertheless, the rate of homicides — a more consistent indicator than the body count — is still relatively high when compared to former president Felipe Calderon’s 2006-2012 administration, when an all-out war was waged between the security forces and the drug cartels.
The worst increase is in the north-western state of Baja California Sur where the number of murders has more than doubled in a year. Last week, for example, the director of the state’s human rights commission and his son were killed.
Besides murders, violent crime has also increased countrywide, given that 70% of attempted murders are committed with a firearm. Businesses have experienced the rise, with the number of violent robberies and extortions increasing especially in the drug-ridden states.
Veracruz — regarded as a corruption-plagued state and hotbed for cartel activity — is no stranger to the current national wave of violent crime. Two mayors have already been shot dead this month.
Mexico City — until recently considered a safe haven for foreign businesses and ex-patriates — has seen a dramatic surge in violence since 2015. The murder rate has subsequently consistently increased in the southern districts of Álvaro Obregón, Tlalpan and Magdalena Contreras. The frequency of homicides are also up in Cuauhtémoc and Miguel Hidalgo, where some of Mexico City’s most prominent business districts are located. The overall rate of homicides in the country’s capital has nearly doubled since 2014.
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