Mapping Mexico homicides in 2022
Homicides fell again in 2022, but cartel conflict keeps violence at near record levels.
In Mexico, homicides were down about seven percent in 2022 compared to 2021. There were over 30,000 homicides last year at a rate per 100,000 above 24. Those numbers are improved from when AMLO started his term but still rank among the worst levels of violence in Mexico’s modern history.
These numbers are reasonably accurate. There isn’t a mass manipulation of statistics in Mexico like there is in El Salvador. However, there are indications that some states may have increased their categorization of deaths as involuntary manslaughter. You can dig into it if you want to be a data nerd, but even if you try to adjust for some of the categorization issues, it doesn’t change the big picture national trends much.
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We (Lucy did all the hard work) used last year’s state level homicide statistics published by the SESNSP last week to produce the above maps and charts.
A few short comments:
Conflict among cartels holds a lot of the blame for the high violence. The states near Jalisco where the CJNG is fighting rivals - including Colima, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Morelos, and Zacatecas - make up a large portion of the homicide deaths in the country. The other big hotspots are the states in the Northwest where the Sinaloa Cartel is fighting other groups over border crossings (in most cases they are fighting CJNG or the Juarez Cartel). Baja California remains quite deadly, and Tijuana is still one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
There remains a disconnect between the security situation and the homicide statistics in northeast Mexico. Tamaulipas and Coahuila contain serious threats of violence, kidnapping, and extortion, even if homicide rates are down. Various groups dispute a number of key cities in the region. And yet, statistically, Puebla is more dangerous than Tamaulipas or Veracruz—but I wouldn’t recommend Reynosa and Matamoros for tourism.
In a year where much of the country saw a decline in homicide statistics, the increases in Puebla, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, and Tlaxcala should be concerning to the national government. While those states remain below the national average, the increase highlights a potential flashpoint for new violence this year.
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