Colombia Eclipses Mexico in Murders Close to Home

Julie Ray, Gallup, May 5, 2010

Despite frequent news of drug war-related deaths in Mexico, Gallup polls show the average Mexican is less likely than those in several other Latin American countries to say a close friend or relative was murdered in the past year. Five percent of Mexicans interviewed in August 2009 said someone close to them was murdered in the past 12 months–about average for the region.

Drug- and gang-related deaths in Mexico’s nearly four-year drug war surpassed 22,000 this year, but the country’s homicide rate is lower than it was a decade ago. Mexico’s homicide rate (11.6 per 100,000 in 2008) is still lower than those in other countries such as Colombia (38.8 per 100,000 in 2007), where residents are among the likeliest to say a friend or relative was murdered. Other Latin American countries with significant percentages claiming this–the Dominican Republic (14%), Brazil (11%), Venezuela (10%), and Honduras (10%)–tend to have relatively high homicide rates. [The homicide rate per 100,000 for the United States is 5.4. –ed.]

Gallup found Mexicans (5%) and Colombians (5%) are similar, however, regarding the number who report a friend or relative was kidnapped within the past 12 months. But Dominicans are more likely than Colombians or Mexicans–or anyone else in the region–to report this.

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