Seminario Zeta of Tijuana recently published a piece comparing homicide statistics from the Calderon and Pena Nieto administrations and has appeared in several newspapers and magazines in Mexico including Proceso, http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=380354
The original piece is posted below.
The gist of the article is that even though EPN and his government secretaries say that homicides have been reduced significantly (30% or more), the truth is much more murky and that compared to the first 20 months of Calderon’s term, there have actually been more homicides, not less.
The discussion has to do with the fact that official homicide statistics come from two main sources: the SESNSP and INEGI. [I posted a brief explanation of these two sources here, http://fronteralist.org/2014/08/22/q-a-with-frontera-lists-molly-molloy/ ] written before this new Zeta piece was published.
Zeta also uses media reports and civic organization counts in different states and cities and comes up with tallies that are somewhat higher than the recent INEGI report: http://www.inegi.org.mx/inegi/contenidos/espanol/prensa/Boletines/Boletin/Comunicados/Especiales/2014/julio/comunica3.pdf
The INEGI report itself is not a final report for 2013, but a preliminary one. More recent statistics are available only from the SESNSP and from media. There is also an issue of which homicides are counted? Homicidios dolosos are those usually considered murder or intentional/aggravated homicide. There is a whole other category of homicidios culposos, usually translated as accidental or negligent homicides. Zeta points out that as the numbers of homicidios DOLOSOS is slightly lower than in previous years, the number of CULPOSOS (accidental or negligent homicides) are going up. This makes us wonder if the government is “adjusting” its classifications of causes of deaths to make it appear that many of the killings are the kinds of “ordinary” accidental homicides that do not indicate an organized crime problem, but just people behaving badly.
One comes away thinking several things: 1) It is becoming even more difficult to know how many people are murdered in Mexico. 2)The EPN administration is determined to pursue an aggressive media strategy to make things appear less violent. 3) Presenting the homicide numbers for arbitrary periods like the “first 20 months” of different administrations is not that useful for comparison. 4)The levels of homicide, forced disappearances and kidnapping are still extremely high in Mexico.
Even using the more conservative figures reported by INEGI and the lower homicidios dolosos numbers reported by the SESNSP, “more than 153,000 people–an average of more than 1,600 per month–56 people PER DAY–have been murdered in Mexico since 2007.”
An English translation of the article published in El Diario de Coahuila is provided from Borderland Beat. Also posted below… -Molly Molloy