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Drug Violence in Mexico: Data and Analysis Through 2011

NCJ Number
Cory Molzahn; Viridiana Rios; David A. Shirk
Date Published
March 2012
38 pages
This third annual report on drug-related violence in Mexico examines the available data through 2011, with attention to contributing factors and policy recommendations.
Data indicate there were just over 50,000 murders perpetrated by organized crime in Mexico from 2006 through 2011. The Mexican Government documented 12,903 homicides perpetrated by organized crime in the first three quarters of 2011; 47,515 such killings have occurred since President Felipe Calderon became president on December 1, 2006. Violence linked to organized crime increased less sharply in 2011, but still constituted just over half of all homicides in Mexico. Drug-related violence peaked in mid-March and declined significantly thereafter. This report predicts a final increase of less than 8 percent for 2011 after calculating for October-December. Drug-related violence continues to be concentrated in key drug-trafficking areas, but continues its geographic expansion. Seventy percent of such homicides occurred in just 8 States in 2011, and 24 percent of drug-related violence was concentrated in just 5 cities. The proportion of violence declined along the U.S. - Mexico border and increased in southern Mexico. Drug trafficking organizations have increasingly targeted government officials, law enforcement personnel, journalists, women, and children; many of these victims were tortured and mutilated. Over the period of this study, some drug cartels remained intact, but others have splintered and diversified. U.S.-Mexico counterdrug collaboration remains strong, but can be improved; although $2 billion in U.S. aid has helped fund Mexican and Central-American counterdrug initiatives, numerous human rights violations have occurred in Mexico, and misguided U.S. efforts have allowed guns and cash to flow to drug trafficking organizations. This report recommends reforms. 11 figures and 5 tables