Luz del Carmen Sosa
Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat
El Diario. 8-4-2012. Despite the fact that for months there has been talk of 60,000 homicides during the current federal administration, the truth is that just from the day the Felipe Calderon Hinojosa took office, until December 31, 2011, there were 83,541 murders reported, according to exhaustive research carried out by El Diario. These official facts were provided by the Public Ministries (PM) (local investigating and prosecuting authorities) of 28 states through the Sistema de Transparencia (literally, Transparency System; legislation similar to the U.S. Freedom of Information Act or public records access laws), which is why they are reliable numbers. In addition, the statistic of 83,541 murders is lower than the actual total numbers because authorities from four federal entities (states) refused to provide information on their homicides.
Of the number of victims (reported) up to last December, 7,017, or 8.4%, were females; state authorities could not determine the sex of 184 bodies due to the conditions under which they were found.
Persons in the 21 to 30 year age group have been the most affected by violent deaths.
Based on the reports obtained by El Diario, it was established that the states with the most homicides to date have been: Chihuahua, with 16,592; State of Mexico, 8,602; Sinaloa, with 7,443; Guerrero, 7,257; and Michoacan, with 5,045 (homicides). As recently as November, 2011, the United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime (UNODC) revealed in its report that in Mexico homicides are concentrated in a small number of states: Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Guerrero, and Baja California." It also established a clear link "between crime and development," when it pointed out that countries with wide income disparities are four times more likely to be affected by violent crime than more equitable societies.
The 83,541 crimes reported to the end of this previous year in this six year term are equivalent to the combined population of the municipalities of Valle de Zaragoza, Uruachi, Urique, El Tule, Satevo, Santa Barbara, Ojinaga, Riva Palacio and Guadalupe in the state of Chihuahua, according to the 2010 census from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI).
TransparencyEl Diario consulted each of the information agencies in the Procuradurias Generales de Justicia y Fiscalias Generales (equivalent to State Attorneys General investigation and prosecution authorities) in the 32 states that are governed by the Law on Transparency and Access to Public Government Information. However, Coahuila, Durango, Morelos and Tlaxcala were the four states who did not answer the questionnaires, so El Diario filed an appeal, a process that is still ongoing.
The Public Ministry of the State of Chihuahua recorded a total of 16,592 violent deaths from December 1, 2006 to December 31, 2011. 1,304 victims were female. The social representative (spokesperson) stated that the age and gender of 18 of the cadavers was not known.
The statistics involving crimes against women place Chihuahua in first place nationally, with 1,304 cases that represent 8% of the homicides reported in the state. Seven women were murdered in December, 2006; 68 in 2007; 136 in 2008; 268 in 2009; 455 in 2010 and 370 in 2011, the report reveals. The document signed by Juan Urbina Burciaga, head of the Information Office of the Attorney General (prosecution Division) of the State of Chihuahua (FGE), specifies that Ciudad Juarez is the city that's most affected, followed by the capital, Chihuahua City.
This border city was until December, 2011, the most violent in the country, with almost 11,000 homicides, that is, 13.4% of all murders committed in Mexico. This number surpasses that of the other four most violent Mexican states.
A break down of the homicides reported in this city during Felipe Calderon's administration shows that there were 52 reported in 2006; 675 in 2007; 2,321 in 2008; 4,134 in 2009; 5,394 in 2010 (considered the most violent during the six year period), while 2011 ended with 4,014 murders.
Another statistic involves violent deaths among children. This state reported 120 victims whose ages ranged from zero (0) to 10 years of age, while 2,105 others were from 11 to 20 years of age, according to the report provided by the Transparency unit of the state Attorney General's office (FGE; Fiscalia General del Estado).
The report indicates that young men, particularly in Juarez and Chihuahua, were the (age group) most exposed to risk of (death by) violent homicide, with 6,408 persons murdered who were between the ages of 21 and 30. Meanwhile, there were 4,408 murder victims in the 31 to 40 years age group; 1,936 between the ages of 41 to 50 years old; 687 were between the ages of 61 to 70; 257 between the ages of 71 to 80; 21 between the ages of 81 to 90; the ages of the victims were not determined in the rest of the cases.
The report indicates that 13,501 murders were committed with firearms; 1,031 with knives (edged weapons); 616 by blows (torture); 230 by strangulation; 82 by burning; 19 in presumed accidents; 12 by drowning; 6 by poisoning; 5 via explosives and 2 were electrocuted. In the rest of the cases, the medical examiner (SEMEFO) could not determine cause of death, with many of the remains being in the form of skeletal remains (bones).
ContrastsThe violence in Mexico exhibits great contrasts. While Chihuahua reached the highest number of homicides, Chiapas reported fewer than 100 homicides during the same period: a total of 77. However, this statistic does not reflect reality, rather, but the disorganized state of the Public Ministry (records): "From 2006 to 2009, we could not locate any report(s) of intentional homicide(s)," reported Cinthya Berenice Valseca Gonzalez, in charge of the Liaison Unit of the Homicides Investigation Office of the Chiapas Attorney General/Department of Justice. In the report she forwarded to El Diario, the official states that the office began to document homicides in 2010, and 24 of the 77 victims in 2010 and 2011 were female.
Statistics by stateIn the current Calderon administration, Aguascalientes reported 375 homicides; 321 men and 54 women. Of hose killed, 26 were younger than 10 years of age; 42 were between the ages of 11 and 20 years; 108 were between 21 and 30 years old; 123 were between 31 to 40 years old; 41 were from 41 to 50; 6 were from 51 to 60 (yrs old); and 3 were between the ages of 71 and 80.
Baja California reported 4,520 homicides: 3,950 victims were men, 462 were women. The age and gender are not known in 108 cases, which is why this state has the highest number of unidentified victims. This state reported 48 victims younger than 10 years old; 257 between the ages of 11 and 20; 988 victims between 21 and 30 years of age; 946 between (the ages of) 31 to 40; 475 between the ages of 41 to 50; 197 were 51 to 60 years; 63 were between 61 and 70; 32 were from 71 to 80; 7 were over 80 years old, while the Public Ministry could not determine the age of sex of the rest.
Baja California Sur (the southern half of the peninsula) reported 200 murders; 161 of the victims were men and 39 were women. Th municipalities with the greatest number of violent deaths were Los Cabos, La Paz and Mulege, says the report.
Campeche gave very sparse information, reporting that there were 243 murders during this period, without specifying the age or gender of the victims.
Coahuila dis not respond to the request for information.
Colima reported 401 homicides, however, it lacks information broken down by age and sex of the victims. Fernando Gutierrez Fuentes, an official with the Public Ministry, revealed that the municipalities with the greatest number of homicides were Colima, with 98 crimes reported this period; Tecoman, with 71 cases and Manzanillo, with 63 violent deaths. All three cities are important tourist destinations in this country.
Durango did not respond to the request for information.
The Distrito Federal reported 4,308 homicides. 3,731 victims were men, 576 were women. The jurisdictions with the highest murder rates were Iztapalapa, with 1,013; Gustavo A. Madero, with 681, and Cuauhtemoc, with 398.
Edomex (Mexico State), the second most violentThe State of Mexico reported 8,602 homicides, which makes it, after Chihuahua, the second most violent (state) in the country. The head of the Information Unit, Jorge Guillermo Perez Cuevas, reported that 1,027 women were murdered between 2007 and 2011, but they did not have the statistics for December of 2006. The information sent to El Diario also shows that they have 48 bodies whose age and gender are not known.
Guanajuato had 2,162 murders. Eduardo Lopez Goerme, general coordinator of the Unit for Access to Public Information of the Executive Branch, stated that the institution's information database is not designed to capture age and cause of death, which is why he only submitted information about the number of homicide investigations initiated during this period.
Guerrero reported 7,257 murder investigations initiated during this period. However, it pointed out in its report that "there are no reports from 2009 back." It stated that between 2010 and 2011, 230 women were murdered, while the municipalities with the highest number of homicides were Acapulco, Chilpancingo and Iguala.
Hidalgo reported 404 murders, 330 were men and 74 were women. The most violent cities these past three years were Pachuca de Soto, Tula de Allende and Mineral de Reforma.
Jalisco was another state that lacks a complete registry, reporting only 3,909 homicide investigations initiated during the relevant period.
Michoacan reported 5,045 murders; 4,504 men and 541 women. The ages of the victims were given as follows: 30 were younger than 10 years of age; 490 were between 11 and 20 years old; 1,275 between 21 and 30 yrs old; 114 from 31 to 40 years old; 706 from 41 to 50 (years old); 395, 51 to 60 (years old); 91, 61 to 70; 24, 71 to 80; 24, 81 to 90; and 4 between the ages of 91 and 100. The remainder, 707, could not be identified.
The State of Morelos Public Information System classified the requested information as "reserved," because it considers that this is information "which, if made public, puts at risk the state's ability to govern, and the lives, health and safety of people". El Diario appealed this determination because it believes this argument is incorrect.
Nayarit reported 1,164 homicides, of which 1,503 were men, and 152 were women. In 9 of the cases, the gender and age of the victims were not known.
Nuevo Leon counted 3,824 (homicides); 3,413 men and 411 women.
Oaxaca responded that1,530 persons were murdered during this period.
Puebla reported 2,425 homicides, however, they have no statistics broken down by gender. 115 victims were younger than 10 years old, and the rest were adults.
Queretaro reported 387 victims; 328 were men, 51 were women and there were 8 whose age and and gender could not be determined. The most violent cities were Queretaro, with 170 victims, San Juan del Rio, with 67 and Corregidora, with 22 person murdered.
Quintana Roo reported 1,939 victims (of homicide), of which 471 were women and 89 were under the age of 15.
San Luis Potosi registered 1,451 homicides. 145 victims were female, while 21 were younger than 10. The most violent cities were San Luis Potosi, with 795 murders, Ciudad Valles, with 165 cases and Rio Verde, with 99.
Sinaloa also stands outSinaloa reported 7,443 homicides; 389 victims were women and 24 had not yet reached 10 years old. The most violent cities were Culiacan, with 2,366 homicides, Mazatlan, with 716, and Navolato, with 590.
Sonora counted 2,334 murders. 232 victims were female.
Tabasco reported 993 crimes, however, it did not specify the number of female victims, nor the gender of the victims. Its most violent cities were El Centro, Cunduacan and Humanguillo.
Tamaulipas reported 3,884 murders. 328 were women, while 23 victims were less than 10 years old. The most violent cities were Nuevo Laredo, with 547 crimes and Reynosa, with 508 cases.
Tlaxcala was the fourth state to refuse to provide information pursuant to the Transparency System.
Veracruz has recorded 3,157 murders, 400 of them women. 673 were children younger than 14 years. Its most violent cities were Vearcruz, Xalapa and Coatzalcoalcos.
Yucatan reported 595 homicides, of which 35 were women. The most violent cities were Merida, Tekax and Tizimin.
Zacatecas reported 595 homicides, with 57 women murdered. The cities with the highest incidence of crimes against life were Sombrerete, Fresnillo and Zacatecas, the report, obtained through the Transparency Unit, revealed.