Kidnappings in Mexico surge to the highest number on record

08/15/14 The Washington Post

censorshipThe first time, after the men with police badges had lashed Adriana Carrillo’s wrists and ankles with tape, and she had spent 37 hours in the back of a Nissan, her father tossed the $12,000 ransom in a black satchel over a graffiti-strewn brick wall and brought her nightmare to its conclusion. She took three days off and then went back to work.

“I don’t want to live as a victim,” she said.

Carrillo returned to the cash register of the family store, where she had worked since she was 8 with her parents and six sisters, amid the floor-to-ceiling jumble of marshmallows and mixed nuts and pinwheel pasta and Styrofoam cups. Their business — cash-based, working-class, on the outskirts of Mexico City — happened to put them squarely into the demographic most vulnerable to Mexico’s kidnapping epidemic. And on May 28, 2013, less than two years later, a white sedan pulled up alongside Carrillo’s car as she drove home late from the market. When she saw the guns, she covered her face with her hands.

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Does Crime Drop When Immigrants Move In?

120px-A_day_without_immigrants_-_La_Raza_unida_jamás_será_vencidaNPR, 3/8/2013

As lawmakers in Washington continue to negotiate over immigration policies, they’ll have to grapple with a fundamental disagreement about the link between immigrants and crime.

Elected officials from Pennsylvania to Arizona have argued that undocumented immigrants contribute to higher crime rates, but some social scientists tell a different story. They argue that first-generation immigrants actually make their communities safer — and they point to some of the nation’s biggest cities as proof.

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Farewell to Arms? [In Spanish]

Nexos, 6/1/2012

Mexico is gradually losing its red tone marked by violence, Alejandro Hope contends in this article. After a 30-month period of unstoppable escalation of violence, the crime rate became stabilized by mid-2010 and ever since the second half of 2011, it seems as if the crimes have finally begun a gradual descent.

The improvement of the situation, however, is at most subtle and has not yet reached the entirety of the Mexican territory. But at certain iconic spaces such as Ciudad Juárez, the decrease in violence is evident. On the other hand, for localities in northeast Mexico the security situation has not improved. Overall, and on a national scale, the numbers point to an improvement of the violence situation for the first time since 2007.

Hope seeks an explanation for the change in this trend, arguing that while many theories have already been presented to illustrate the upward trend in violence, new conversation calls for searching new theories to explain why crime rates and violence are beginning to decrease.

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Life stirs anew in ‘murder capital’ Juarez

The Washington Times, 5/28/2012

The dance floor at one of several new nightclubs in this border city torn by the drug wars was packed with sharply dressed 20-somethings on a recent Friday night.

Bass beats pumped. Lights strobed. Ice clinked in cocktail glasses. No one seemed to care that the clock had just ticked 1 a.m. in a city so violent its nickname is the “murder capital of the world.”

“That’s because the crime level has gone down here like 75 percent,” shouted Jose Fernandez, his eyes scanning the crowd at Quinto Elemento, a swanky club one mile south of the border with Texas.

“People feel safe, and they’re coming back out like old times,” he said. “We’ve got people coming here from El Paso, Las Cruces and even some from as far away as Albuquerque just for the night life.”

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El Paso murders, crime rate overall fall

El Paso Times, 8/3/2010

About 1,700 homicides have occurred in Juárez this year. El Paso has had one.

Despite the rampant bloodshed in Mexico, the overall crime rate in El Paso has decreased slightly this year.

Police officials said crime is down 1 percent citywide with decreases in the number of murders, burglaries, auto thefts and vehicle break-ins. Assaults are up 4 percent and robberies have remained the same.

One homicide this year is unusual even for a city that normally has few slayings. El Paso, estimated population of 751,000, had seven homicides at this time last year. The year ended with 13 homicides.

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Federal Crimes Pick Up in 2010 (in Spanish)

El Universal, 6/20/2010

Federal crimes have skyrocketed in Mexico.  Statistics from the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) reveal that between January and April of this year federal crimes have increased more than 300% compared to the same period in 2009.

In fact, the more than 46,000 investigations opened in the first four months of 2010 make it the year with the highest crime rate of this administration.  Crimes related to drug-trafficking have also almost tripled compared to those registered last year.

The Attorney General’s report on the Rate of Federal Crimes reveals that the 11,498 investigations were opened between January and April, which equates to 10.6 crimes per 100,000 residents.

The increase means that the first four months of 2010 have had the largest number of crimes in this six-year presidential term, since 11,915 investigations were opened during the same period in 2007 and 12,529 during 2008.

The same tendency is shown for crimes against health, which are associated with drug operations:  7,446 crimes were registered in 2007, 7,070 in 2008, and 6,281 in 2009 before shooting up to 18,563 investigations were opened between January and April of 2010.

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