Mexico reported as many as 29,000 murders last year, making 2017 the country’s most violent year on record.
Gang violence cost Mexico US$249 billion in economic loss in 2017, close to 21% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to the “Mexico Peace Index” report by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace, an independent non-partisan think tank.
The total economic impact of violence “was seven times higher than the education budget in 2017,” the report added, with its authors arguing that Mexico has to deal with both the causes of violence and the symptoms of lawlessness to keep the crime rate in check.
Just 1% of the economic impact of violence equals the federal government’s investment in activities related to science, technology, and innovation last year.
The report found that not only is violence by organized crime groups rising, but ordinary criminality and interpersonal violence is increasing as well.
Unfortunately, the deaths of hundreds of gang members and the detention of criminals like “El Chapo” have stoked more violence rather than decrease it.
The rise in the homicide rate was accompanied by a substantial increase in the rate of gun violence, which rose by 36%, with 28 of the 32 states in Mexico reporting escalating rates of firearms crimes.
Corruption and the free flow of information on security arrangements are the symptoms of a weak government, with such institutional weaknesses allowing organized crime to thrive, states the report.
Barely seven states managed to improve their peacefulness in 2017, with Yucatán topping the list as the most peaceful state in the country, followed by Tlaxcala, Campeche, Coahuila, and Chiapas. All of these states, other than Coahuila, improved in peacefulness.
Baja California Sur ranked as Mexico’s least peaceful state for the first time in 2017, followed by Guerrero, Baja California, Colima, and Zacatecas. Three of these states are located on key drug trafficking routes on the Pacific coast, while Zacatecas sits just inland from it.