The 2021 edition of the Mexico Peace Index — a comprehensive measure of national peacefulness with trends, analysis and estimates of the economic impact of violence — has been released with good news: Mexico’s peace has improved after four years of deterioration.
Here, we take a brief look at some of the defining numbers from this year’s report:
The positive shift marks a change in trend following the sharp increases in violence recorded between 2015 and 2018.
Homicide and firearms crime rates peaked in July 2018 and have since been gradually declining. Other crime rates began to fall in mid-2019, which also preceded the pandemic.
This is the first time in five years that more states have improved than deteriorated in peacefulness. Quintana Roo, on the east coast of Mexico that is renowned for its tourism, recorded the largest improvement in overall score, driven by a 35% decline in its firearms crime rate.
Despite a series of positive trends in 2020, Mexico’s homicide rate still remains at historically high levels, at 27.8 deaths per 100,000 people, or over 35,000 victims. In 2020, this figure improved by 1.3%.
On a national scale Mexico has the ninth highest homicide rate globally.
However, the country is home to the five cities with the highest homicide rates in the world: Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Uruapan, Irapuato and Ciudad Obregon.
The border city of Tijuana registered a homicide rate of 134 deaths per 100,000 people in 2019, 20 times higher than the global average.
Violence against politicians, police and journalists is increasing. In 2020, 525 police officers were killed, increasing 17.5% from the previous year.
This uptick in violence coincides with the country’s June 2021 midterm elections, and is often carried out by cartels and other organised crime networks as a means to maintain control over jurisdiction.
Equivalent to 87,256pesos (US$4092) per Mexican worker, and 22.5% of Mexico’s GDP, this figure is more than double the total yearly exports from the automotive industry,
Mexico’s largest industrial sector. The economic cost of violence is more than seven times higher than the Mexican government’s current expenditure on the public health system, and more than six times higher than on the education system.
This figure is particularly impacted by an increase in retail drug crimes, which have increased by 125%.
Gun violence is also on the rise, with the national firearms crime rate almost doubling, from 14.6 firearms crimes per 100,000 people in 2015 to 27.7 in 2020.