The Justice in Mexico project at the University of San Diego just published “Drug Violence in Mexico,” which is the most comprehensive analysis of homicide statistics and drug-related violence I’ve seen. Excellent work by Kimberly Heinle, Octavio Rodríguez Ferreira, and David A. Shirk.
Some of their principal conclusions:
- After a decline in 2012-2014, homicides began to rise again in 2015 and jumped 20% in 2016. The largest increases were registered in states which have an important role in drug production or trafficking and are contested by rival organized crime groups.
- Local officials and journalists remained prime targets of violence in 2016.
- Mexico’s recent violence is largely attributable to drug trafficking and organized crime, based on characteristics such as use of high-caliber automatic weapons, torture, dismemberment, and explicit messages involving organized-crime groups. Organized crime related homicdes probably account for 25% – 40% of total homicides.
- El Chapo Guzmán’s arrest and extradition appear to be partly fueling violence. A significant portion of increases in violence in 2015 and 2016 were related to inter- and intra-organizational conflicts among rival drug traffickers in the wake of Guzmán’s re-arrest in 2016.