HomeNewsBriefOrganized Crime Dominates in Mexico’s Most Violent Cities
BRIEF

Organized Crime Dominates in Mexico’s Most Violent Cities

HOMICIDES / 3 OCT 2016 BY DEBORAH BONELLO EN

Many of Mexico's most violent cities are home to competing criminal groups and drug-fueled conflicts, a clear sign of how organized crime is contributing to the country's worsening security situation. 

The seven most violent cities in Mexico with a population of more than 100,000 are all in the states of either Colima or Guerrero, according to official figures collated by Animal Politico. Both of these states currently serve as battlegrounds between rival cartels.

Cities in states like Michoacán (Apatzingán, Zamora, Lázaro Cárdenas), Veracruz (Tierra Blanca, Papantla, Poza Rica de Hidalgo), Tamaulipas (Ciudad Victoria), Baja California (Playas de Rosarito, Tijuana, Tecate) and Sinaloa (Culiacán, Navolato, Mazatlán), which also have a high presence of criminal groups and illicit activity, are included as well in Animal Politico's list of the country?s 50 most violent cities.

Some of the the worst-offending cities, however, share a state with Mexico?s least violent cities -- Metepec and San Felipe de Progreso in the state of Mexico, for example, and San Andres Tuxtla in Veracruz.

2016-09-30-mex violent cities

Despite claims by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to the contrary, homicides in Mexico have been on the rise since early 2016 and are now back to highs not seen since 2012.

More homicides were officially reported in July this year than during any other month of Peña Nieto's term. There were 2,073 homicides that month, according to the National Public Security System (Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública - SNSP). July's homicides bring the 2016 total to 12,376, a 16 percent increase over the same period a year earlier.

InSight Crime Analysis

Animal Politico's ranking is further evidence that the Mexican government is losing in its battle against organized crime, with the country?s security institutions incapable of reining in violence perpetrated by and between criminal groups.

Tecoman and Manzanillo in Colima, two of the three most violent cities in Mexico, are both battlegrounds likely due to the port of Manzanillo, an important arrival point for the precursors needed for the production of methamphetamine. Violence in the state of Colima as a whole has soared this year, and according to security analyst Alejandro Hope, is currently the front line of a war for control between the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels. The tiny state is sandwiched between two other violent entities -- Jalisco and Michoacán, where only recently a state police helicopter was shot down by a criminal group, possibly the Knights Templar.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Mexican authorities have made significant advances in battling the Knights Templar in Michoacán, as well as neutralizing a vigilante uprising turned nasty by transforming them into a Rural Defense Force. But that force has since been disbanded, and recent events point to an uptick in violence and a possible comeback for the Knights Templar.

As for Acapulco, Guerrero -- one of the most violent cities in the world, not just Mexico -- rivalries between dozens of gangs has for years seen murders happen on the beaches and boardwalks of one of Mexico?s tourism jewels. Criminal groups in Acapulco have fragmented, in part due to the weakening of the Beltran Leyva Organization. Authorities think that there could be as many as 50 different criminal groups operating across the state, which is the epicenter of poppy production in Mexico.

This list also shows how violence in Mexico isn?t generalized, but rather focused in specific regions and even sub-regions, which explains why in the same state -- such as Veracruz and the state of Mexico -- some cities can be plagued by violence while others are considered to be among the safest in the country.

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

EL SALVADOR / 21 APR 2021

A recently published report warns that pacts made between gangs and public officials to lower homicides in El Salvador will…

CHINA AND CRIME / 12 MAY 2021

While the involvement of Chinese money-laundering rings in handling drug proceeds from Mexico is nothing new, a number of recent…

BRAZIL / 9 AUG 2022

Under President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's highway police seems to have become a brutal instrument of death.

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…