by Molly Molloy
Mexican Cartel Strategic Note No. 19: +233,143 Homicides (& Disappearances) in Mexico 2007-2016
The Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública (SESNSP) in Mexico published preliminary crime statistics on January 20 in its Informe de victimas de homicidio, secuestro y extorsion 2016. In the table below I've compiled the homicide statistics from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI) from 2007-2015 and added the 2016 numbers from the SESNSP to get estimates for the entire “drug war” decade.
The SESNSP Reported a total of 2,034 intentional homicides (homicidios dolosos) in December 2016; a total of 22,932 for January-December 2016. This is an average of 62 homicides per day in 2016. The daily homicide toll from 2007-present is 57 homicides per day.
If we add the estimate of approximately 25,000 people missing and/or disappeared as reported by the Mexican government4, then the number of people killed or disappeared since 2007 is at least: 233,143.
The murder rate in Mexico reached a high of 24/100,000 in 2011; then dropped to a low of 17 in 2015. In 2016, the downward trend reversed. In 2016, the estimated Mexican murder rate is 19. For comparison, the murder rate in the U.S. is 4.5, based on 2014 statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In recent years, the numbers of people murdered in the U.S. hovers around 14,000 victims each year, though there have been sharp increases in 2015 and 2016, mainly in a few U.S. cities. Still, according to estimates based on preliminary FBI data, the U.S. murder rate is now about 5.3. 5
Homicides decreased slightly during the first three years of Enrique Peña Nieto’s sexenio, but have increased significantly in the first half of 2016. The average number of homicides per day still stands at about 56—the number for all 6 years of Calderón’s term.
1. Homicide totals 2007-2015 from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI): http://www.inegi.org.mx/saladeprensa/boletines/2016/especiales/especiales2016_07_04.pdf
2. Homicide totals 2016 from Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública (SESNSP): http://secretariadoejecutivo.gob.mx/docs/pdfs/victimas/Victimas2016_112016.pdf
3. The murder rate calculation is based on Mexican population estimate = 122 million.
4. CAPEA (Centro de Apoyo de Personales Extraviadas y Ausentes), Procuraduria General de Justicia de la Ciudad de México (CDMX)/Center for Lost and Missing Persons, Attorney General of Ciudad México,
Jorge Monroy, “Hay en México 25,398 personas desaparecidas,” El Economista, 4 June 2015, http://eleconomista.com.mx/sociedad/2015/06/04/hay-mexico-25398-personas-desaparecidas
5. For details on estimated increases in homicide in the U.S. since 2014 see: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/u-s-cities-experienced-another-big-rise-in-murder-in-2016/
6. INEGI homicide data for 1990-1994 plus SINAIS (Sistema Nacional de Informacion de Salud) data for 1989.
For an older and more detailed explanation of Mexican homicide statistics during this period of hyperviolence, see: Molly Molloy, “The Mexican Undead: Toward a New History of the “Drug War” Killing Fields.” Small Wars Journal, 21 August 2013, http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/the-mexican-undead-toward-a-new-history-of-the-%E2%80%9Cdrug-war%E2%80%9D-killing-fields