Mexico News Daily, December 21, 2016
Two cities among those that have been seeing an increase in homicides this year know full well how bad things can get.
With 671 homicides on record during the first 10 months of this year, Tijuana is experiencing the worst murder rates in the last 10 years. Things are not good in Ciudad Juárez either, where homicides are at their highest in four years.
Tijuana now has the highest homicide rate this year among Mexican cities with more than one million inhabitants.
According to data furnished by the National Public Security System (SNSP), the worst homicide rates registered during 2010 had dropped by almost 50% by 2012.
Slight increases were registered during the next two years, and in 2015 it had increased significantly once more, albeit not at the alarming rate documented so far this year.
The two most violent months in the last 10 years were September and October of this year, with 80 and 72 homicides, respectively.
If the trend persists, Tijuana will close 2016 with a homicide rate of 45 per 100,000 inhabitants.
By comparison the country-wide rate is 12 per 100,000.
The violence has been linked to a reactivation of the turf war between three criminal gangs: the drug cartels Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), Arellano Félix and Sinaloa.
At least five local criminal organizations have been known to cooperate with the larger drug cartels, which covet control over Tijuana for its strategic location.
A similar situation is unfolding in Ciudad Juárez, once known as the murder capital of the world.
Data from the federal Attorney General’s office indicates that at least two drug gangs — and local splinter cells and collaborators — have a strong presence is this border city: the Juárez and the Sinaloa cartels.
Close to 95% of the homicides on record in the Chihuahua city have been linked to the two.
The crime rate in Juárez had been steadily decreasing since the worst years of the war on drugs at the start of the decade. Today, the trend has reversed and during the last year the homicide rate spiked 65%.
With 29 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, Juárez is also well above the national average and is now in second place after Tijuana.
According to official data, the incidence of homicides in this city increased by a startling 225% in one semester, between the months of May and October this year.
The number of homicides in October can only be compared to those registered during April 2012.
During a recent visit, Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong declared that crime figures for November had decreased, but the official figures have yet to be released.
Yo Ciudadano (I, Citizen), a local non-governmental organization, has warned that the trend could be back on its upward climb, as 29 homicides have been recorded during the first 10 days of this month, according to data it has collected.