So far in June, there have een several days with no murders reported, so
the decrease seems to be holding. I have had trouble keeping the count
because El Diario does not give cumulative numbers. I will try to
summarize what I know for June by tomorrow. This article is a good summary
of the analysis out there in the press.
Based on INEGI and SNSP reports on TOTAL homicides in Mexico since 2006, I
think that we are getting close to a figure of 100,000. If that is the
case, then Juarez accounts for TEN PERCENT of the total for the whole
country. And Juarez has about 1.2 million people. The country has about 112
million... So with very rough arithmetic we could say that Juarez has
suffered 10 percent of the homicide deaths in Mexico and in a city that
accounts for about 1 percent of the population of the country. molly
Juárez homicides lowest in 3 years
by Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera \ El Paso Times<a.marti...@elpasotimes.com?subject=El%20Paso%20Times:>
Posted: 06/11/2012 10:27:23 AM MDT
Click photo to enlarge
A group stands behind crime scene tape put in place by municipal police
after... (Times file photo)
JUAREZ -- The month of May had the lowest number of slayings in Juárez in
more than three years.
The drop in the city's homicide rate -- which has become a common but
imprecise measure of violence and safety in Mexico -- has been cautiously
celebrated as law enforcers and observers admit the figure is still high.
During that month, Chihuahua state's prosecutor's office reported 73
killings and found the skeletal remains of one victim. The number is the
lowest since March 2009, in which state authorities reported 73 killings.
Since then, state authorities have mostly reported three-figure monthly
homicide rates. Slayings reached their peak in October 2010 with 359
Jorge González Nicolás, the head of Chihuahua state's prosecutor's office
in the northern region, said that while he was happy with the lower number
of killings in May, he acknowledged that a lot of work remains to be done.
"These are not figures we should applaud or go boast anywhere. These are
still very high homicide figures," González said. "But for those of us who
know how things were and we compare to what was going on in 2009 and 2010,
we know we're on the right track. Our job is to reduce it much more."
González added that while the drop in May was noteworthy, his goal was for
annual monthly homicide rates to continue dropping and keep them under 100
slayings per month this year.
Juárez became the epicenter of drug violence in Mexico when the Sinaloa
cartel began a bloody turf war against the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes cartel
for control of the local drug market and smuggling corridors in the region.
More than 10,500 people have been killed since early 2008.
Violent deaths so far this year have accounted for more than all slayings
reported in 2007. That year, there were 307 killings, which was the highest
number of killings the city had witnessed up to that point in its history.
According to figures from the state prosecutor's office, there have been
486 slayings between January and May this year. There were 118 killings in
January, 82 in February, 105 in March and 108 in April.
And even though May had several days in a row without any slayings
reported, signs of violence and brutality continued in the city.
Besides several execution-style killings reported that month, Chihuahua
state police discovered a decapitated body in the southern part of the city
on May 27. The victim had been stabbed to death and his head was left on a
Eight people were killed in the first weekend of May, including a man who
was tied up and had his face covered in plastic bags. On May 28, four
people were shot and killed in Colonia Manuel Valdes. Around 128 shots were
Many also question how solid security gains are and how much improvements
can be attributed to law enforcement efforts.
González talked of local, state and federal law enforcement activities that
he said have helped reduce crime in the city.
Since the beginning of his administration, Chihuahua governor César
Duarte's said thousands of stolen vehicles have been recovered and almost
500 people have been sentenced under extortion and kidnapping charges.
González added that federal authorities have also made headway with the
arrest of key cartel bosses and the seizure of hundreds of weapons.
"Work is being done little by little and the result of our efforts is
beginning to consolidate," he said.
But Leticia Chavarría, a member of the Medical Citizens' Committee,
hesitated to attribute safety improvements exclusively to law enforcement
activities when, on occasions, peacekeepers are the perpetrators.
Activists and human rights defenders like Chavarría have repeatedly
complained about a wide range of abuses -- from extortion to beatings and
slayings -- linked to city police officers under the leadership of Police
Chief Julián Leyzaola.
"This progress is due to a process in which not only law enforcement
agencies intervene but also in which criminal groups move to other spaces,"
she said. "What we can say is that the fight over this territory no longer
exists to the degree it did two years ago."
Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical intelligence at global
intelligence firm Stratfor, said cartel conflicts seem to be shifting east
now and what's happening in Juárez is similar to what happened in Tijuana
when the Sinaloa cartel squeezed the Arellano Felix cartel out of its
"After they consolidated, the murder rate dropped," he said. "That's what
they like to do; once they take control, they want things to be calm so the
dope can flow better."
Chavarría said the security perception in the city is improving, in part
out of a desire for things to get better but not necessarily because of
"In general, the thing we want the most is for this nightmare to end and we
want things to continue getting better," she said. "But more than anything,
it's an act of faith because we don't have a firm base to think things are
Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera can be reached at a.marti...@elpasotimes.com;
546-6129. Follow him on Twitter @AlejandroEPT.