At least 83,541 homicides in Mexico during Calderon’s term–El Diario

This article by Luz del Carmen Sosa appeared yesterday in EL DIARIO…I have not found a link to the original yet, but this one from puronarco.com seems to be complete. There is also a translation from Borderland Beat. If anyone has the full original version of the article from El Diario, please post or send me the link.
 
Highlights: government data from the Public Ministries of 28 states on homicides (specifically homicidios dolosos or intentional homicides) were provided through the Mexican transparency law (similar to the US Freedom of Information Act). The data reveal that from Dec 1 2006 when Calderon took office up through December 2011, there have been at least 83,541 homicides. The four states that DID NOT report homicides are: Coahuila, Durango, Morelos and Tlaxcala. I know from following media reports and in looking at the previous releases from different government agencies that Coahuila and Durango have been very violent during the years of Calderon’s administration. Some of the most violent mass killings have been reported from the Lagunera area that includes parts of both Coahuila and Durango state. The investigation is continuing with the effort to obtain data from these states as well.  The officials are legally obligated to provide the information. 
 
At least 8.4 percent of the victims nationally are women, though state authorities cannot determine the sex of 184 of the bodies counted. Most of the homicide victims are between the ages of 21 and 30. 
 
The states with the most homicides are Chihuahua (16,592) and Estado de México (8,602). Though not in the article, it should be noted that the Estado de Mexico (essentially includes all the population in the central area around the capital city minus the population of the Distrito Federal) and it is the largest in population of all the states of Mexico with more than 15 million inhabitants. [http://cuentame.inegi.org.mx/monografias/informacion/mex/poblacion/default.aspx?tema=me&e=15] Chihuahua with twice as many homicide victims has a population of 3.4 million [http://cuentame.inegi.org.mx/monografias/informacion/chih/default.aspx?tema=me&e=08]
 
The article reports 1,304 of the 16,592 homicide victims in Chihuahua state were women–the highest number of “feminicidios” in the country.  This statement is relatively meaningless in terms of the statistics because Chihuahua also had by far the highest number of homicides overall. The percentage of female victims in Chihuahua is actually about 7.8 percent, slightly lower than the overall percentage of female victims in all of the states reporting (8.4 percent). So in relation to the TOTAL victims, there were relatively fewer female homicide victims in the state of Chihuahua compared to those in the other states. In other words, yes, there are more murders of women in Chihuahua than in any other state. But that is because there are so many more murders total in Chihuahua… And, the percentage of female victims is actually slightly LOWER than in other states.
 
The article does not give the exact figure reported for Ciudad Juarez, but says that the city had the highest number of homicides in the state, followed by the capital, Chihuahua City. The border city of Juarez had nearly 11,000 murders from Dec 2006 through December 2011 and accounted for 13.4 percent of all the murders in Mexico. 
 
In terms of the quality of the data, the article indicates serious omissions. Chiapas (for example) reported only 77 murders in the time period (dec 2006-dec 2011) but the official reporting for the public ministry there says:

“From 2006-2009 no record was found of any homicidios dolosos.” Chiapas appears only to have started counting in 2010. 

Extrapolating from these data provided by the public ministries of the 28 states reporting, we have a base number of 83,541 homicides from Dec 2006-Dec 2011, we can use the number reported nationally by the Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Publica (SNSP) of 8,622 homicides between January-May 2012. 
That is an average of 1,732 homicides per month. [see: http://www.insightcrime.org/insight-latest-news/item/2895-violence-in-mexico-2012-a-halfway-report for this number from SNSP] … Considering that the murders have been reported to be decreasing slightly in 2012, let’s estimate an average of 1,500 homicides per month for June-November 2012 (Pen~a Nieto will take office Dec 1 2012) for an estimate of 9,000 more homicides for the remainder of Calderon’s term. Added to the 92,203 as of the end of May we get an estimate of 101,203 homicides.  Keep in mind that the data obtained through the transparency law and reported in this article does not include ANY numbers from 4 states, including two very violent states: Durango and Coahuila. 
 
Dec 2006-Dec 2011 =                  83,541
Jan-May 2012 (SNSP data) =          8,662
TOTAL as of end of May 2012 =   92,203
Estimate June-Nov 2012 =             9,000
Est. TOTAL Calderon’s term =    101,203
For a person who was always bad at math, I am polishing up at least my arithmetic.  I have looked at the numbers reported by INEGI for 2005-2010. From those numbers we can at least get 4 years of data quickly for the states that did not report homicide numbers and this gives us another estimate of at least 106,392. Considering the missing data and state entities that seem not to have counted homicides at all for several years, I believe it is very reasonable to estimate that by the end of Calderon’s administration more than 110,000 Mexicans will have been victims of homicide.

INEGI data 2007-2010

Durango          2804

Coahuila          1068

Tlaxcala           228

Morelos           1089

TOTAL             5189

101,203 + 5,189 = 106,392

 Molly Molloy
 

About virginiaisaad

Virginia is a journalist based in Los Angeles who's written for publications including Los Angeles magazine, Upworthy, and Elite Daily. She was born in Argentina and raised in the San Fernando Valley along with her three siblings. Fun fact: She took a Chicanas and Feminism course with Eva Longoria while studying for her master's in mass communication at California State University, Northridge. Follow her on Twitter @virginiaisaad

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