HomeNewsBriefFalling Death Toll in Mexico Military Operations Reflects New Tactics
BRIEF

Falling Death Toll in Mexico Military Operations Reflects New Tactics

MEXICO / 11 JUN 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Both attacks against Mexico's soldiers and the number of alleged criminals killed by military personnel have plummeted over the last 18 months, reflecting tactical shifts in how the country's drug war is fought. 

According to government documents obtained by Milenio, the Mexican military killed 242 alleged criminals between January 2013 and March 30, 2014. In comparison, a total of 3,274 suspected criminals were killed by military personnel between 2009 and 2012 -- an average of over 800 a year -- with the number peaking at 1,297 in 2011.  

The Mexican army has also faced fewer attacks from criminal organizations and has decreased the number of combat operations in the country.

Although these figures include casualties from military deployments in the state of Michoacan, they do not include the current military operation in Tamaulipas, which began after the period measured.  

InSight Crime Analysis

The figures obtained by Milenio appear to provide empirical evidence of the shift in security policy promoted by President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration, which has called for a moderation of deadly force and recently published the first manual on the use of force in the military.

Like his predecessor, however, Peña Nieto has used federal troops to bolster security operations in violence-stricken regions of the country, including the states of Michoacan and Tamaulipas. The Mexican government deployed federal troops in November 2013 to take control of the port of Lazaro Cardenas, a Knights Templar stronghold in Michoacan, and a recent increase in violence in Tamaulipas has led to similar operations in the state

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

While the decrease in attacks on military personnel may be a result of this shift in tactics, it could also reflect a decline in the type of paramilitary tactics employed by cartels like the Zetas, who have been known to provoke firefights with security forces and target the state in their attacks. Indeed, according to Milenio, the majority of the alleged criminals who have been killed in confrontations with the military over the last seven years have died in areas controlled by the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, two groups that appear to have lost a significant amount of power.   

Once the deployment of federal troops in Tamaulipas ends, figures from this operation may paint a different picture for 2014. Over the last five years, 1,795 armed civilians -- nearly 40 percent of the registered total -- have been killed in Tamaulipas, which also continues to be the most dangerous state for federal troops.    

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

PERU / 26 MAY 2021

Authorities in Peru have sent troops to an isolated river valley at the heart of the country’s cocaine trade after…

BRAZIL / 24 MAY 2021

Of the nearly 140 reporters killed in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Honduras during the past decade, about half covered organized…

COCAINE / 17 NOV 2020

Authorities in Belgium have arrested a former top counter-narcotics official who they say is being investigated for suspected involvement with…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…