Expert: Mexican Murder Numbers Likely Double Former Estimates

Expert: Mexican Murder Numbers Likely Double Former Estimates

“Despite Mexican government statistics adding up to more than 110,000 murders during Calderón’s term, the international press continues to report estimates of the death toll in Mexico ranging from 50,000 to ‘more than 60,000.'” — Molly Molloy, border and Latin American specialist at the New Mexico State University Library.

The majority of world media consistently reports the murder rates in Mexico from the 2006-2012 as being anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000, including most U.S. media and me. New numbers have emerged estimating the number of Mexican murders closer to 110,000.

The new numbers come from New Mexico State University professor and librarian Molly Molloy. She is regarded by many journalists who cover the Mexican drug war and academics who study the issue as a leading expert. She runs the popular Frontera List, an informative, though intensely left-of-center, posting of informative articles pertaining to the drug war and Mexican cartels. Even Sylvia Longmire, one of America’s foremost experts on Mexican cartels and the drug war, said she trusted Molloy’s numbers in the regard and that her research methods were sound. The comments from Longmire came in a recent interview with Breitbart News.

Molloy attributes the lower official numbers to the former presidential administration of Mexico’s Felipe Calderón. When Calderón’s administration left office, the Mexican attorney general released higher numbers than had previously been made public. These newer estimates put the murder toll at 47,000 from 2006-2012.

Molloy’s research and her methods of collecting data are detailed in a recent piece she published. Her methods rely on official documentation, often from Mexican police, as are the lower numbers from Calderón’s administration and the Mexican attorney general. However, Molloy digs much deeper by analyzing death certificates and other documentation. Often times, entire police forces in Mexico are corrupted by cartels, and in one case an entire police force was disbanded over the corruption–thus the importance of Molloy’s research methods.

Another significant find by Molloy pertains to the alleged guilt of those killed in Mexico during the 2006-present day cartel-era. Breitbart News recently took the Associated Press to task for asserting that most of the tens of thousands of victims were somehow guilty of being involved in the drug trade themselves. Such assertions are solely based on accounts and investigative reports from Mexican law enforcement, even though an approximate 5% of the cases are actually investigated, according to Molloy.

Molloy uses the Mexican city of Juárez and the inaccuracies of official reporting there as an example for the rest of the troubled nation and writes:

The press also parrots the Mexican government’s claim that 90 percent of the victims are criminals killed by other criminals. From my daily reading of crime reports from Juárez — the city still at the epicenter of the violence — it is evident that the majority of the 10,800-plus murder victims there since 2007 are ordinary people, and most of them are poor: small-business owners who cannot pay extortion demands, mechanics, bus drivers, prostitutes, addicts, boys selling newspapers, a pregnant woman washing cars on the street. This city of only 1.2 million accounts for 10 percent of all of Mexico’s murder victims since 2007.


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