Homicide and other violent crime is on the rise in Mexico.
In recent years, the violence has both increased and spread, affecting areas of the country that were long spared.
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Deadly violence has steadily risen in Mexico since the country launched an offensive against drug cartels and organized crime more than a decade ago.
The 33,753 homicide victims reported by Mexico’s public-security secretariat in 2018 set a record for the second year in a row. The 17,142 victims in the first half of this year likely mean 2019 will set a new mark. The homicide rate has risen every year since 2015, hitting 23.34 homicides per 100,000 people in 2018.
Read more: 400 murders a day: 10 reasons why Latin America is the world’s most violent place
The violence has long been concentrated in specific areas, especially border cities, but recent years have seen it both intensify and spread, with homicides and other violent crimes rising throughout the country.
Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city and the capital of Jalisco state in the country’s southwest, has experienced this change. In an email interview, Guadalajara-based journalist Stephen Woodman explained what this grisly trend looks like, who’s behind it, and how it has affected residents there.
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Christopher Woody: The level of violence, homicides in particular, has increased throughout Mexico in recent years; how has the intensity and nature of violence in Guadalajara changed?
Stephen Woodman: Recently, there has been a massive spike in homicides in Guadalajara and the surrounding state of Jalisco. Mexico’s statistics agency shows the murder rate reached 35 murders per 100,000 people last year, an 84% rise from 2017.
However, in terms of homicides, Jalisco is no exception. Last year, it was 20% worse than the national average. Other states like Colima and Baja California are far more violent.
Read more: Mexico’s bloody cartel realignment is intensifying in one of the country’s smallest states
Unfortunately, Jalisco does stand out in terms of another criminal trend. Nearly 3,400 people have been reported missing in the state, so it is among the worst in the country for disappearances.
Such disappearances have a devastating impact on families and communities. They rob relatives of any form of closure and are a source of dread to anyone who can imagine their own family suffering a similar fate.
Woody: Two gangs appear to be behind the killings and disappearances you documented in Guadalajara: the Jalisco New Generation cartel and Nueva Plaza. What are those groups competing over and how has their clash been felt in the city?
Woodman: The Jalisco New Generation cartel (CJNG) is one of the most powerful criminal enterprises on the continent. From its home base of Guadalajara, the cartel has expanded rapidly across the country.
Nueva Plaza is a much smaller group led by former CJNG members who broke away in 2017. They are …read more
Source:: Business Insider – Politics