Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mexico is home to 5 of the 10 most violent cities in the world; Juárez loses 1st place

Most violent city on earth is in Honduras; Ciudad Juárez falls to second place
Update Jan. 6, 2013 - Juárez homicides dropped dramatically in 2012

*Update below*
Five of the 10 most violent cities in the world are in Mexico, says the director of the private Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice in this country. They are Juárez, Acapulco, Torreón, Chihuahua and Durango. Ratings were based upon 2011 murders per 100,000 residents.

Top honors went to San Pedro Sula in Honduras, which had 159 homicides per 100,000. It narrowly beat out Ciudad Juárez, which had 148 murders per 100,000 in 2011.

Of the 50 most violent cities worldwide, 14 are in Brazil, 12 are in Mexico and five are in Colombia. Two Mexican cities, Monterrey and Veracruz, were added to the list for the first time this year, due to unprecedented narco violence in 2011.

Speaking to a business forum in Cancún this afternoon, president Felipe Calderón responded by saying the numbers were misleading. He noted that Mexico is statistically far safer than much of Latin America -- and the stats do bear him out. The U.N. says that in Mexico there are 20 homicides per 100,000 people (Calderón claimed today it's 16 per 100,000), in Guatemala 40, in El Salvador 66 and in Honduras 82. By way of comparison, based upon 2010 data the U.S. homicide rate is 4.8 per 100,000, and Canada's is an astoundingly low 1.6.

An interesting footnote: Calderón told his audience that Yucatán state has a homicide rate of 3 per 100,000. The state government says that it was even lower than that in 2011 - 1.7. Whichever, both are far better than the United States. Murders are uncommon here, and when they do occur, they are likely to arise out of garden variety domestic disputes.

Jan. 6, 2013 - CNN reports this morning that organized crime killings in Ciudad Juárez dropped hugely in the year just ended - from 2,086 in 2011 to 750 in 2012. Authorities attribute the dramatic 64% reduction to better coordination between local security forces, and above all to higher pay for municipal police, who have often been in the bulls-eye of execution teams. They also concede that the two primary drug traffickers in the region - the Sinaloa Cartel of Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán, and the Juárez Cartel - have finally put down their arms. That's because Sinaloa won.

Meanwhile Torreón - also in last year's top five of deadly Mexican cities - remains as violent as ever.

In Latin America, youth itself is the primary risk factor for homicide
Honduras, "invaded by drug traffickers" bound for U.S.

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