For the first time in four years, Mexico saw an 8.7 percent increase in the murder rate, according to government sources. There was also a coinciding claim of a decline in kidnapping and extortion, perhaps indicating that criminal groups are once again shifting their tactics.
According to VOA News, prosecutors from Mexico’s 31 states and Mexico City reported 17,013 murders last year, the fifth-highest figure in nearly two decades, Interior Ministry statistics showed. There were 15,653 murders reported in 2014.
The central state of Mexico, which encircles much of Mexico City, had the highest murder rate last year. In second place was Guerrero, a southwestern state where 43 trainee teachers were abducted last year and believed by government officials to have been massacred by a drug cartel in league with local police.
What was most surprising was the data for kidnapping, indicating they had fallen over 24 percent from 2014. This generally correlates with available government data, but the figures between sources don’t match up. In December 2015, Breitbart Texas reported that according to the National Public Security System (known as the SNSP for its initials in Spanish), through the first ten months of 2015, Mexico has tallied 1,064 kidnappings. This represents a 32.4 percent drop from the corresponding figure of 1,619 in 2014, which is a higher figure than that being reported by the Interior Ministry.
More reliable sources for murder and kidnapping data in Mexico can be found through non-governmental organizations operating in the country. However, these reports are anecdotal in nature and are not consistent from one location to another. Although the Mexican people may be partially bolstered by reports of dropping kidnapping rates, any statistics coming from a government almost universally viewed as corrupt to varying degrees will likely be met with extreme skepticism.
Most cartel-related crimes are also never reported to the police, and the Mexican government has a strong incentive to keep any increases in the murder rate as low as possible. It is likely the Mexican public will never truly know more accurate figures for murder and kidnapping in their country.
Sylvia Longmire is a border security expert and Contributing Editor for Breitbart Texas. You can read more about cross-border issues in her latest book, Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren’t Making Us Safer.