Homicide rate up in Mexico

Aug. 22, 2012 at 2:20 PM
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MEXICO CITY, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Mexico's homicide rate increased by 5.6 percent last year, its fourth annual increase in a row, a government survey reported, due to the ongoing drug war.

The new data, released this week by the country's Statistics and Geography Institute, indicates 27,199 homicides, or 24 per 100,000, occurred in Mexico in 2011. The rate in 2007 was 8 per 100,000, the institute said.

The statistics suggest outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderon's controversial decision to deploy the military to fight the country's drug trafficking gangs may not be working, the Los Angeles Times said Wednesday.

The newspaper also noted statistics provided by analysts at Mexico City's Lantia Consultores that found homicides tied to organized crime increased 10 percent in the first half of 2012 compared to the last half of 2011, and Calderon's claim that, comparing the first half of 2011 and that of 2012, drug-related homicides decreased 15 percent.

The new homicide numbers "show that violence is still a really important issue" in Mexico, said Eric Olson, associate director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington. "How (incoming President Pena Nieto) is going to seek to reduce violence is an open question but it's still a worthwhile priority."

Nieto has pledged to find a way to reduce the violence but has not explained his strategy, the newspaper said.

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