Special to WorldTribune.com
By Allan Wall
The ongoing violence in Mexico is analyzed each year, as number crunchers study previous years’ statistics.
It is a morbid undertaking as such statistics deal with numbers representing real people who were homicide victims.
So why even study it? It is hoped that the discovery of patterns and trends might help in the reduction of homicides.
There are various ways to analyze the data.
According to statistics of the Mexican government itself, murders in Mexico increased in 2016. In fact, the Mexican murder total in 2016 was the highest it’s been since 2012. (Enrique Peña Nieto became President of Mexico on Dec. 1, 2012.) See Mexico’s murder rate spiked in 2016 due to ‘ongoing shifts in the underworld’.
The consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft compiled a Crime Rate Index for calendar year 2016, and ranked Mexico as the third most dangerous country in the world.
Another way is to rank homicide rates by city.
A Mexican NGO called the Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y Justicia Penal, A.C. (Citizen Council for Public Security and Penal Justice), whose president is Jose Antonio Ortega Sanchez, released a list of the world’s 50 cities with the highest homicide rates in 2016.
In order to be on the list, the city must have at least 300,000 inhabitants. The ranking is based on homicide rates calculated per 100,000 inhabitants. (Cities in war zones are not included in the ranking.)
Of the 50 most murderous cities, 42 were in Latin America and 47 (all but three) were in the Western Hemisphere.
The country with the most cities on the “Top Fifty” list was Brazil, with 19.
Mexico was in second place, with 8 cities on the world’s most murderous cities list. That contrasts with 5 cities in the previous year’s list.
Venezuela was in third place by quantity of cities, with 7 cities.
The U.S. and Colombia were tied, with four cities each.
South Africa, the only country not in the Western Hemisphere, had three cities on the list.
Honduras had two cities on the list.
Guatemala, El Salvador, and Jamaica each had one city on the list.
Caracas, Venezuela, was the world’s murder capital with a rate of 130.35 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. This was a significant increase over the previous year’s rate of 119.87 per 100,000. (Caracas was also the world’s most murderous city the previous year.)
The second most murderous city was Acapulco in Mexico, with a murder rate of 113.24 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
Honduras had #3 (San Pedro Sula) and #4 (Distrito Central), with rates of 112.09 and 85.09 respectively.
Mexico was on the list again at #5, with Ciudad Victoria, capital of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, with a homicide rate of 84.67 murders per 100,000 population.
Maturin, Venezuela was #6 (84.21 per 100,000). San Salvador, El Salvador was at #7 with a rate of 83.39.
Venezuela had #8, Ciudad Guayana, with a rate of 82.84; and #9 Valencia, with a rate of 72.02.
Rounding out the Top Ten List of Murderous Cities was Natal in Brazil, with a murder rate of 69.56 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
The United States of America had four cities on the list:
St. Louis, Missouri was the most murderous city in the U.S. and was ranked #14 in the world, with a murder rate of 60.37 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
Baltimore, Maryland, was the second most murderous city in the U.S. (#26 in the world) with a rate of 51.14.
New Orleans was the third-most murderous city in the U.S. (#34 in the world) with a rate of 45.17.
Detroit, Michigan, was the fourth-most murderous city in the U.S. (#36 worldwide) with a rate of 44.60 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Note that St. Louis had a higher murder rate than any Mexican city with the exceptions of Acapulco and Ciudad Victoria.
Baltimore had a higher murder rate than any Mexican city with the exceptions of Acapulco, Ciudad Victoria, Tijuana and Culiacan.
New Orleans and Detroit each had a higher murder rate than any Mexican city with the exceptions of the top five most murderous Mexican cities: Acapulco, Ciudad Victoria, Tijuana, Culiacan and Mazatlan.
Mexico had eight cities on the Top Fifty Most Murderous Cities list:
Acapulco was the Mexican city with the highest homicide rate in Mexico, and the second-most murderous city in the world. Acapulco has a rate of 113.24 murders per inhabitant. (Last year Acapulco was #4 on the Top Fifty List, with 104.73 per 100,000 inhabitants.) So, the murder rate has increased in that Pacific coast city.
Ciudad Victoria was Mexico’s second-most murderous city, and was #5 worldwide, with a homicide rate of 84.67 per 100,000. That was an enormous increase (more than double) over the previous year’s rate of 30.50 per 100,000.
Tijuana was Mexico’s third-most murderous city (#22 worldwide), with a rate of 53.06, an increase over the previous year’s rate of 39.09.
Culiacan (capital of the western state of Sinaloa) was Mexico’s fourth-most dangerous city (#24 on the world list) with a murder rate of 51.81. That was actually a decrease from the previous year’s rate of 56.09.
Mazatlan (on the west coast) was Mexico’s fifth-most murderous city (#27 in the world) with a rate of 48.75.
Ciudad Juarez (across the border from El Paso, Texas), was Mexico’s sixth-most murderous city (#37 in the world) with a rate of 43.63.
Chihuahua City, Chihuahua, was Mexico’s seventh-most murderous city (#40 in the world) with a rate of 42.02.
Ciudad Obregon was Mexico’s eighth-most murderous city (#41 in the world) with a rate of 40.95.