An annual report by a respected Mexican non-governmental organization that analyzes urban murder rates throughout the world is shining an unflattering light on Mexico, showing that 15 of the most dangerous cities on the globe are in this country.
According to the report, the world’s most dangerous urban area is now Tijuana, with Acapulco in second place, closely followed by Ciudad Victoria (in northeast Mexico), Ciudad Juarez (near the Texas border) and Irapuato (in the central state of Guanajuato) – all ranked among the worst ten. Guadalajara, it should be noted, does not appear on the list at all, meaning it is safer than St. Louis (Missouri, number 15), Baltimore (number 23) and Detroit, which has barely been able to shake its longstanding reputation as the murder capital of the world.
The general public of Mexico, already conspicuously alarmed over rising inseguridad, will find nothing surprising in the new analysis by the Citizens Council for Public Security and Penal Justice (Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Publica y la Justicia Penal), founded in 1997 to promote reporting of crime and corruption.
Neither should the report shock President Lopez Obrador, whose principal announced target is corruption and crime. AMLO has been attempting to address the problems by such measures as instituting a National Guard and appointing an anti-corruption Attorney General – actions that have their detractors, although these apparently do not include the Consejo Ciudadano, some of whose Twitter campaigns are named #ConAmloPorLaSeguridad (With AMLO for Security) and #RescatamosMexico (Let’s Rescue Mexico).
The report does contain some surprises and insights, however. The resort city of Cancun, for example, made the list of infamy this year (in 16th place), while Los Cabos and La Paz totally dropped off the ranking. These two cities on Mexico’s west coast had been in the number one and number six positions last year, illustrating how quickly things can change.
Other notable changes have been the gradual disappearance from the list of cities in Colombia, once a world drug and murder nucleus. This year, the list contains only two Colombian cities and they are low ranked, in stark contrast to Colombia’s formidable presence on such lists about 20 years ago.
In fact, Colombia’s centrality in the illegal narcotics trade (unequivocally cited by experts as the principal cause of murders) did a pirouette with Mexico, starting around 2006 with President Felipe Calderon’s war on drugs, encouraged by the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush. The result of this complex history has been a vast increase in murders in this country and the shifting of the drug trade from Colombia to here.
Experts also confirm that the increasing hunger for illegal drugs north of the border drives the drug trade – and murders – here. Cocaine is said to be the principal substance involved.
The record-breaking murder rate in Mexico is just part of the larger picture painted by the Citizens Council, which noted a concentration of murders in Latin America as a whole, marked by Brazil, with 15 cities on the list of infamy, and Venezuela, with six cities.