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Violent Deaths in Mexico: Everything Is Not as it Seems

Violent Deaths in Mexico: Everything Is Not as it Seems

Tulum Real Estate Information

Mexico Riviera Maya

CIUDAD DE MÉXICO, 15 de agosto.- A pesar de que estados como Sinaloa, Tamaulipas y Chihuahua enfrentan retos importantes de agresiones que se han generado por la competencia de los grupos criminales, México no es uno de los países más violentos del mundo, afirmó el secretario técnico del Consejo de Seguridad Nacional, Alejandro Poiré Romero. "Como país, a pesar del aumento registrado en los últimos años, mantenemos una tasa de homicidios significativamente menor que la de varios países de la región latinoamericana. Aún frente a aquellas experiencias reconocidas en el ámbito internacional por hacer frente a la criminalidad en beneficio de sus comunidades, como es el caso de Colombia, México tiene una tasa de homicidio claramente inferior. Incluso Brasil tiene una tasa de homicidios similar a la de nuestro país", explica. Respecto al último de los 'Diez mitos de la lucha contra el crimen organizado' que señala que 'México es uno de los países más violentos del mundo', aseveró que el país mantiene una tasa de homicidios significativamente menor que la de varios países latinoamericanos. “Tanto el negocio del narcotráfico en el pasado, como el del crimen organizado de hoy, siempre ha estado caracterizado por la violencia, la rivalidad, la venganza y la profunda desconfianza de quienes integran las redes delincuenciales y que buscan, siempre en condiciones de inestabilidad, el control de rutas y mercados ilegales mediante la acción violenta. "Hacer frente a este fenómeno con efectividad requiere además ubicarlo en su dimensión correcta", argumenta. Poiré Romero agrega: "La pregunta que muchos se hacen es si México es uno de los países más violentos del mundo. La respuesta es clara: no lo es. "Sin dejar de reconocer los desafíos que viven algunas zonas del país como Tamaulipas, Chihuahua y Sinaloa que a lo largo de los últimos años han focalizado la violencia asociada a la competencia criminal, y que en 2010 concentraron el 50 por ciento de los fallecimientos ocurridos por presunta rivalidad delincuencial en el país, veamos algunos datos comparados", finaliza.

In recent months the debate about violence in Mexico has heated up significantly. Most news channels and newspapers have been giving a broad coverage on the facts of crime, which are usually focused on the issue of combating organized crime.
When it comes to human lives, it is always difficult to speak coldly about figures. But when we need to know what really is going on, in terms of crime, we can do nothing but refer to them.
The indicator that measures the violence in a country is the number of violent deaths per 100,000 people. It has the advantage of allowing comparisons among countries’ figures with different population sizes and it is highly reliable since in all countries it is necessary to produce death certificates to account for a death caused for any reason whatsoever. Therefore, in the case of violent deaths, there is no possibility that this indicator, unlike others, could observe significant levels of sub report given that violent deaths are registered by law in all countries.
According to available indicators, Mexico as a country has a general level of 13.3 violent deaths per 100.000 inhabitants, making it one of the safest countries in Latin America. Levels in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela surprised us since they are at high as 16.8, 36.7 and 44.9 deaths per 100,000 population, respectively. Brazil and Venezuela are two and almost three times more violent than Mexico, respectively.
Moreover, if we compare this indicator with some U.S. cities we will see that our country is much better than we would expect to imagine. Comparing Mexico to Washington DC, New Orleans or Detroit the difference is very big, violence is a tangible problem in those cities. And without going too far, Mexico City has 9.8 violent deaths per 100,000 people, far below of other major cities like Houston, with 12.5, Phoenix, with 12.6, and Los Angeles, with 17.1. It is true that there is a big problem in Ciudad Juarez and three other municipalities, which altogether sum up to more than 50% of violent deaths in Mexico. The rest of the 2,396 municipalities which form the country have relatively low violence levels.
According to figures provided by the Mexican Government, the battle against organized crime has caused 24,826 violent deaths in the last four years. As it is continuosly said, inside and outside the country, it has turned Mexico in an extremely dangerous country to live. A country that sadly some have said is in “civil war” and that is a “failed state.” This is definitely not true.
Although a number like 24,826 seems pretty high, it is time to put it in context. This number represents a little over 6,000 deaths per year on average. Each year, 20,000 people die in Mexico in road accidents and more than 50,000 because of diabetes. If we look at violent deaths to compare, in the U.S. 6,000 veterans commit suicide every year. So, during the same period, the same amount of persons has died as a consequence of the U.S. post-war trauma, as the war on drugs in Mexico.
And while there is some exposure about this phenomenon in the U.S. media, it does not reach the same exposure as in Mexico. Here we are in a frenzy of daily information that the only thing that portraits is the presence of violence. Our conversations with family, friends, at office, in restaurants, are all about violence. We enroll ourselves and enroll others, including foreigners, in the idea that violence in Mexico has reached unsuspected levels. And there’s no evidence to support that. It is only our perception. We find ourselves filtering and searching all events and news, looking for those that speak of violence. And likewise, those are the news we speak about. It is a conversation, just a conversation.
This has affected the levels of tourism, investment and economic prospects for the country, and it is not supported by real figures, data and facts, it is only a perception. The good news is that we have the power to change that perception. It just takes to take a look at the data and facts.
Ultimately, the best way to combat violence is to leave behind the fear that generates in ourselves and do something that makes us feel safe. We have to realize that by enrolling ourselves and others in a violence conversation we end up being paralyzed. What would be possible if we focus on facts and data to make us and others see that we can be responsible for creating an environment to grow and prosper instead of creating a violent space with our everyday conversations? You have this power, do it for North America and in the end you will be doing something positive for yourself and for others.
Michelle Bradshaw AMP, PFP
MX:  984-108-0802
US:  707-299-6502



2 responses

  1. We are in the UK, look at the crazy things that have just happened here, never had any problems or trouble of any sort in the Yucatan part of Mexico.

    August 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm

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