Murder rates in Mexico increased 7.6 percent in 2015, despite previous years witnessing a decrease in homicides.
Data released by the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System reveals that 18,650 people were victims of intentional homicide in 2015 compared to 17,324 in 2014.
As reported by The Huffington Post, the former Mexican intelligence official Alejandro Hope said in a conference at the Woodrow Wilson Center earlier this month that “2015 was not a good year. At the current rate, there will be more homicides under Peña Nieto than under [previous President Felipe] Calderón.”
Murder rates on the rise
The murder rate has markedly increased in the central and southern states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas and the federal district of Mexico D.F. However, there was decrease in some of the northern states at the center of the drug war, such as Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Sonora.
Between 2014 and 2015, the murder rate increased 33 percent in the state of Guerrero, 11 percent in DF, 20 percent in Oaxaca and 24 percent in Chiapas. In the border states of Nuevo Leon, Sonora, Coahuila and Chihuahua the international homicide rate decreased by eight percent, 10 percent, 24 percent and 11 percent respectively.
More than half were killed by gunshot wounds and August 2015 was the year’s most violent month when 1,709 people were murdered.
A security expert from Mexico City’s Center for Research and Teaching in Economic, Jorge Chabat, told the Latin Post that the rise in murder rates represent a “major setback” for Mexico’s President Peña Nieto.
“This is a hard blow for Peña Nieto, whose main asset on the security front had been until now the decline in murders. He can’t play that card anymore,” said Chabat.
A dip in life expectancy
In December, a study by UCLA found that Mexico’s murder rate is leading to a decrease in men’s life expectancy in the country.
Using data from the Mexican National Statistical Office, researchers examined changes in life expectancy over two periods of time: 2000 to 2005 and 2005 to 2010.
The study revealed that between 2000 and 2005, men’s life expectancy in most states increased slightly from 72 to 72.5 years. However, by 2010 the data was telling a different story. Life expectancy for men in two-thirds of Mexico’s states had in fact fallen by an average of six months.
Although some of the northern states witnessed a decrease in murders between 2014 and 2015, the ongoing drug war has, according to the UCLA study, impacted the life expectancy of men living in those areas.
According to the study, in the states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Durango, life expectancy for men fell by up to three years between 2005 and 2010.
A Lead investigator on the study and assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez, told UCLA Newsroom: “Our results indicate that homicides can have a large impact on the average years of life of a population. Violence in Mexico has spread throughout the entire country, so our findings suggest that homicides need to be addressed from a public health perspective to improve peoples’ lives.”
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