New figures released by the Mexican government for the month of May show that the country broke its record for murders in a month as the nation struggles with an unprecedented level of violence from warring drug cartels.
The report from Mexico’s National Public Security System (SESNSP) showed that for the month of May there were 2,186 homicide investigations for a total of 2,452 intentional homicide victims.
The statistics compiled by the SESNSP only take into account crimes acknowledged by attorneys general offices in the 32 states. The numbers, however, do not take into account the victims of cartel kidnapping and murder. The statistics also do not include the murders of cartel gunmen whose bodies are collected by allies or rivals.
For 2016, Mexico ranked as the second deadliest country in the world to Syria – who is in the middle of civil war – with a total of 22,967 intentional homicides, according to a report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
The report, called the Armed Conflict Survey, highlighted the fact that the criminal violence in Mexico stemming from the drug cartels is so severe that it is an actual military conflict:
It is very rare for criminal violence to reach a level akin to armed conflict. But this has happened in the Northern Triangle of Central America (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) and, especially, Mexico. In all four countries, armed forces have been deployed for many years specifically to fight criminal gangs and, in the case of Mexico, transnational drug-trafficking cartels, with military-grade weapons and vast financial resources.
A separate report for 2016 from Verisk Maplecroft, an independent risk analysis firm, showed that Latin America is the most dangerous region in the world:
Latin America has been named as the world’s highest risk region for violent crime, due to the widespread prevalence of drug trafficking organisations (DTOs), kidnapping, extortion and robbery across 11 countries, including in its four largest economies, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia.
As home to six of the 13 countries rated ‘extreme risk,’ Latin America ranks as the world’s highest risk region, ahead of South Asia and West Africa. Guatemala (ranked 2nd highest risk), Mexico (3rd), Honduras (6th), Venezuela (7th), El Salvador (8th) and Colombia (12th) all feature in the ‘extreme risk’ category of the index. A further five, including Brazil (31st) and Argentina (43rd), are categorised as ‘high risk.’
News of Mexico’s sharp uptick in murders comes as the death toll in the Syrian war is on the decline. For the month of May, fatalities in Syria dropped by 43% from 1,171 in 2016 to 667 in 2017, according to the Violations Documentation Center in Syria. On the contrast, for the month of May, intentional homicides in Mexico rose by 28.6% from 1,907 in 2016 to 2,452 in 2017.