After having passed through some difficult times, data shows that Mexico security is trending upward.

In an article that appears in the June 2015 issue of the most widely read maquiladora trade industry magazine, Mexico Now’s, sister publication, Border Now, contributing author Nancy B. Gonzalez documents the significant Mexico security gains that have been achieved over the last several years. Although the height of what was mainly drug cartel-related violence was reached in 2012, doubts still linger in the minds of many as regards the country’s status as it relates to the safety and security of leisure travelers and businessmen, and women, alike. Now is the time to soberly reassess the Mexico security environment.

The bad old days

The period 2008-2012 was the most challenging as regards Mexico security. The reported figure for homicides per 100,000 residents in Mexico in 2007 stood at 8.1. By 2012, the number had risen to 21.4.

Although the perception that, the mostly narcotics trade-driven, crime in Mexico was pervasive throughout the country, according to Gonzalez, six border states bore the vast brunt of the violence:

  • Baja California
  • Coahuila
  • Chihuahua
  • Nuevo Leon
  • Tamaulipas
  • Sonora

The tide turns

The border cities that were most notably affected were Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua and Reynosa, Tamaulipas.

Despite the aforementioned fact that most organized crime drug trade-related violence was principally a border phenomenon, its effects, to some degree, were felt in the country’s interior, as well. Cities that included Monterrey and Acapulco also experienced spikes in cartel-driven homicides, as did non-border states such as Guerrero, Nayarit and Michoacán.  In 2012, the Mexico security tide began to turn.

Gonzales reports that data published by Mexico’s National and Geography and Statistics Institute (INEGI) demonstrates that, during the course of the presidential administration of Vicente Fox (2000-2006), “approximately 1,073 of Mexico’s 2,450 municipalities had zero homicides.” This state of affairs carried over into the initial year of the administration of Vicente Fox’s successor, Felipe Calderon. In 2008, however, the Mexico security situation began to take a decidedly negative turn, and total homicide figures began their national uptick. This unfavorable trend continued for several years in that, by 2012, only 727 of Mexico’s municipalities were “homicide free.” On the significantly positive side, however, INEGI also reports that during that year the overall total number of killings recorded nationally declined by 4% when compared to the previous year (2011). The tide began to turn, and INEGI information indicates that by 2014, killings in Mexico were reduced by an additional approximate 15% in relation to the 4% reduction seen in 2012.

The current state of affairs in Mexico security is that from a recorded high of 21.4 homicides per 100,000 residents registered in Mexico in 2012, today the figure has dropped to 16.3.

Gonzalez points in the pages of Border Now that this number is  currently exceeded by select US cities that include:

  • Detroit, Michigan with 48 homicides per 100,000 residents
  • Newark, New Jersey with 40 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants
  • St. Louis, Missouri with 38 murders per 100,000 citizens

Ciudad Juarez, in particular, has made great strides in the context of Mexico security considerations as of late. It is noted in Gonzalez’s article that, for three years running (2008-2010), Juarez held the dubious distinction as being widely recognized as being the world’s most dangerous city.

As of this year, the security situation in Ciudad Juarez has improved in such a drastic fashion that it’s ranking in this category has dropped to 27th place. In April 2015, Juarez, with an estimated population of 1.5 million people, recorded 18 murders. According to author, Gonzalez, “only 11 of them (murders) involved a gun and none of them were organized-crime style.”

Although things are much better, improvements can always be made

Although the state of Mexico security was, admittedly, difficult for several years, great strides have been made to return the country, and Ciudad Juarez, in particular, to a state of normalcy.

In addition to a reduction in the homicides, overall crime in Ciudad Juarez seems to have abated. For instance, Border Now reports that no incidences of kidnapping, or extortion, have been reported in the city for two and one-half years, and auto theft, which at one time averaged three hundred per month, is now down to a small fraction of that number at twelve.

As is the case with most everything, there is still much improvement to be made. It might be said with a good degree of certainty, however, that, after a very trying period, recent developments suggest that prospects for continued movement in a positive direction as regards Mexico security are to be taken seriously.