By Chris Covert
The latest data on murders in Mexico are in and whatever the administration of Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto is doing to deal with its pervasive organized crime problem, the results are mixed.
According to data supplied the the Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB), or interior ministry, the total of murders nationwide reached more 15,000 since December 2012, the first full month of the new administration. Intentional homicides totaled 1,478 for the month of September, 2013. The total number of murders since December, 2012 was 15,352. The average for the previous ten months is more than 1,535. The average for the previous nine months of 2013 is 1,487.
At the current average rate, the total of intentional homicides in Mexico could reach more than 17,000, which would be the lowest number for homicides since 2009, when 16,118 murders took place.
In 2010 through 2012, including the month of December 2012, homicides were at an all time high of 20,681, 22,856 and 21,768, respectively
President Peña came into office ten months ago with promises of dealing more effectively with organized crime, first by moving all federal law enforcement and military counternarcotics activities under the auspices of its interior ministry. Since that time every crime, especially violent crime reported through the federal government became a statistic, with no or few details.
Despite Mexico's transparency requirements at the federal level, Peña administration officials have interpreted the transparency requirements to reporting only the statistics of crime, not the details.
Since the start, it has been clear that some Mexican news outlets, most of which rely heavily on the federal and state governments for their crime news, were willing to self-censor crime news.
Some government officials, for example last July in Coahuila, have deliberately distorted crime statistics, only to be called on it by private organizations.
Whatever other efforts have been made to spike crime news in Mexico, the statistics that have been compiled by SEGOB are grim.
According to data supplied by Animal Politico news website, kidnappings and extortion attempts have soared in Mexico to all time highs. In September a total of 135 kidnappings were reported, a number exceeded twice since December 2012 -- in March (141) and April, 2013 (136) -- and matched in two other months, June and July.
Going by an annualized rate, the rate of kidnappings will exceed 1,606, an increase of about 10 percent from the previous year and an all time record.
Similarly, the crime of extortion going by its average current rate could reach almost 8,000 by the end of the November, 2013, another all time record. The year 2013 totals could exceed the last highest year, 2012 (7,272), by more than 700 cases.
As with homicides, two other crime categories have been reduced, albeit showing downward trends which began in 2011, in carjackings and auto theft.
In the previous three years, carjackings hit an all time high averaging more than 65,000 with 2011 being the high mark at 71,784. So far in 2013, total carjackings are down 41,916 for the calendar year. At the current annualized rate total carjackings could reach 55,887, the lowest number since 2009 when 42,673 were reported.
Auto theft is also showing a dramatic drop with a projected number of 132,941 for 2013, the lowest number since 2006, before the start of the previous Calderon administration.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com and BorderlandBeat.com. He can be reached at email@example.com