Mexico to send troops to stem violence after record 25,000 murders…Reuters

I heard this as a lead story in the BBC news headlines last night.  It is especially troubling since a glance at the statistics on homicides for the last 10 years shows sharp increases in murders coinciding with the deployment of the military into the cities and countrysides of Mexico beginning in late 2006 after the election of President Calderon.  I have never seen any evidence that the presence of the Mexican Army and Marines in the so-called “war on drugs” has lead to decreases in violence.

I also note that this article mentions the figure of “25,000 murders” during 2017. Based on the latest data from SESNSP, the total number of murder VICTIMS last year was more than 29,000. Here is a quick explanation of what I think is the issue with these different numbers.
There is a set of statistics from SESNSP that is used by most media and to the best of my knowledge, they report the number of “averiguaciones previas” (basically investigations) for different crimes. That data is reported here and is called Incidencia Delictiva del Fuero Comun
This report has the smaller number. I think that is because what it counts are homicide investigations, basically cases opened up by the different state prosecutors. It does not provide the count of individual victims which can be multiple in one crime investigation.  Here is the actual description from the dataset:

“La incidencia delictiva se refiere a la ocurrencia de presuntos delitos registrados en averiguaciones previas o carpetas de investigación iniciadas, reportadas por las Procuradurías Generales de Justicia y Fiscalías Generales de las 32 entidades federativas, instancias responsables de la veracidad y actualización de los datos.” 

In this report, the total homicide investigations (homicidios dolosos, or intentional homicides) for 2017 are 25,339.

The other report that comes out at the same time is called Informe de Victimas de homicidio, secuestro y extorsion.

In this report, the number of victims of homicidio doloso is reported as 29,168.
I think this is the better report to use because the number of victims is more important to know than the number of investigations. A single homicide investigation can have multiple victims and thus I think this report is more useful because what I’m interested in is the death toll from the violence. The SESNSP reports should be taken as preliminary. The INEGI reports generally come out some months later and tend to be different but fairly close to the SESNSP data that come out each month. There are problems with such statistics, but since they have been collected and reported for many years, they can certainly be looked at for comparisons…what trends do they show.  One thing that seems significant this year is how constant the monthly data have been.  No significant drops or increases. Just the steady killing of 2,400 people every month, an average of 80 homicides per day, nationwide.
I posted the numbers with selected data from the report here:

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