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Mexico News: Murder Rate Down in Latin American Country; Recent Trend Still Worries

First Posted: Apr 30, 2015 04:41 PM EDT
Murder rate down in Mexico; recent trend still troubling

Photo : Spencer Platt/Getty Images

For a third straight year in a row, statistics in Mexico logged a decline in the murder rate, a trend USA Today deemed "a sign the country is slowly stabilizing after gruesome drug wars."

But in the shorter term, the statistics are still worrisome, Animal Político warned, noting that March was the country's deadliest month out of the last nine.

A report released Thursday by the University of San Diego's Justice in Mexico Project said that 15,649 people were murdered in Mexico in 2014. That figure marks a decline of 13.8 percent from the previous year, USA Today detailed.

In 2011, considered by many the peak of the Mexican drug wars, 22,480 individuals suffered a violent death. While noticeable nationwide, the drop in the murder rate since then has been particularly pronounced in five of the six Mexican states that border the United States.

David Shirk, the co-author of the University of San Diego report and director of the Justice in Mexico Project, which to aims protect human rights south of the border, told the newspaper that the new numbers speak for themselves.

"These data really help to underscore that we're talking about a sea change in violence," he noted. "You still have elevated levels of crime, so we still have a long way to go. But there is improvement, and we have to acknowledge that improvement and understand why it's happening so we can try to further it," Shirk added.

The tendency of low homicide rates may be coming to an end, however, Animal Político warned. The local website pointed out that in March alone, 1,441 people were killed in violent acts in Mexico. To make matters even worse, the average of crimes committed on a given date also rose in February, reaching levels not seen since the past year.

In the state of Mexico, which surrounds the country's Federal District, alone, 560 people became the victims of homicides between January and March of this year; other particularly violent locations include Guerrero and Jalisco in the nation's south, as well as the border states of Chihuahua and Tamaulipas.

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