By ALLAN WALL
Honestly, it’s depressing to study murder statistics, but we do so in order to hopefully figure out how to reduce them.
There are various ways in order to organize statistics.
One is simply to look at national murder rates. For example, Insight Crime recently published a survey of the homicide rates for most Western Hemisphere nations in 2022.
According to that survey, Mexico had 31,915 murders in 2022, giving it a murder rate of 25.2 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
That was by no means the highest rate in the hemisphere. Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Venezuela, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Honduras, the Bahamas, Colombia and Ecuador all had higher murder rates than Mexico, while the United States had a modest 5.32 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
The fact that Mexico is in the top 10 rankings may not be much consolation — especially since it comes in at 11th place — but these numbers do put things into perspective.
Another way to organize homicide statistics is by city.
Mexico is a big country, so presenting murder rates by city actually gives us a more specific overview.
A Mexican nongovernmental organization annually releases a list of the world’s 50 most murderous cities.
That NGO is the Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y Justicia Penal (Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, or CCSPJP).
One can always quibble about details, and some countries provide better data than others, but in compiling its annual report, the CCSPJP has to deal with the data available.
The CCSPJP does very careful research and explains its methodology. Its calculations, like those of Insight Crime, are made on the basis of a murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants, and only cities of 300,000 inhabitants or more are counted.
With the exception of four cities in South Africa, most of the world’s most murderous cities are in the Western Hemisphere.
Mexico has the most cities on the list, with 17, including the top seven most-murderous cities. In second place is Brazil, with 10 cities.
The world’s most murderous city in 2022 was Colima, the capital of the central coastal state with the same name. That city’s murder rate was a whopping 181.94 per 100,000.
Other Mexican cities on the list are, in order of deadliness, Zamora, Ciudad Obregón, Zacatecas, Tijuana, Celaya, Uruapan, Ciudad Juárez, Acapulco, Irapuato, Cuernavaca, Cancun, Chihuahua, Morelia, León, Ensenada and San Luis Potosí.
It looks as though leftist Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) controversial “hugs, not bullets” policy is not working too well.
But when examined by city breakdowns, the United States doesn’t look good either. It has a total of eight cities on the CCSPJP most-murderous cities list. The most murderous city in the United States in 2022 was New Orleans, at No. 8 worldwide, with a murder rate of 70.56 per 100,000.
That means that New Orleans is more murderous than any city in Mexico with the exception of the top seven cities on the list.
Other U.S. cities on the list are Baltimore, coming in at No. 17; Detroit at No. 23, Memphis at No. 25; Cleveland at 27; Milwaukee; at 39, San Juan, Puerto Rico at 41; and Philadelphia at 46.
All these murder rates are human statistics representing real people who lost their lives. It’s tragic.
Both Mexico and the United States certainly have a lot of work to do to bring these murder rates down, on both sides of the border.