Monday, April 02, 2012


View of the seaside sections of San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico.  Some of the boats in the marina and many, many more in local dry storage are virtually abandoned by their American owners due to American media lies about safety down here.

Homicide Rates in Mexico, the U.S., and the World

by David L. Griscom

While I haven’t watched the evening news on U.S. TV more than sporadically for many years now, it is my understanding that murders in México are reported virtually on a daily basis. It is certainly for this reason that Americans who used to come down to México regularly have suddenly become so afraid that they have virtually abandoned homes and boats down here in San Carlos, about 300 miles due south of Tucson.  Having lived here for 7 years now, it has always seemed very safe to us.  Have we been fooled? ...or are the Americans living north of the border the ones who are being fooled?

I decided to get to the bottom of these questions once and for all by studying the murder rates per 100,000 inhabitants of both the U.S. and México, as well as other countries around the world.   The data for individual countries are easily obtained (my source here) and I have graphed the data for a representative number of countries as the open circles to the left of the figure below.  Data for U.S. cities are also easily obtained (my sources were here, here, and here) and I have plotted a number of them on the right-hand side of the figure below.   I have broken out these data according to the dates when the data were recorded – revealing, for example, falling crime rates in many U.S. cities. However, murders have been increasing in some U.S. cities (see my blog post immediately preceding to this one).

Similar data for Mexican cities are hard to find. However, the Mexican government yearly publishes meticulously tabulated data for the Mexican states here (I selected the stacked triangles in the figure above as a subset representative of data for 2009).  One of the things revealed here is that the three of the states bordering the U.S. in my selection are a bit on the high side (13 to 13.8 homicides per 100,000), although close to the 2009 all-México average of 14.36 ...which is itself safer than the following American cities in 2011: Miami (15.4), Atlanta (17.3), Pittsburgh (17.6), Philadelphia (19.6), Washington, DC (21.9), Detroit and Baltimore (34.5 and 34.8, respectively).

Since we live in the State of Sonora, I wondered if those of us living far from the border towns, where the drug gangs regularly take lives, might be safer than the average for the entire state (13.78).  So having found out (here) that the number of murders in the state capital of Hermosillo in 2009 was 46 but being unable to find the 2009 population, I settled for the 2008 population of 850,000 in order to calculate 5.4 homicides per 100,000 (a number which would have been lower still had I found and utilized the 2009 population number).

This murder rate determined for Hermosillo, though surely greater than the rate down in San Carlos, is actually slightly better than the 2011 number for New York City (6.4), a place where I've felt quite safe during recent visits. 

And both of these places are immensely safer than was Washington, DC, back in the days when we lived in nearby Northern Virginia (reaching 80 homicides per 100,000 in 1991 – virtually the same as the present-day city of Chihuahua, México)!   Yet this horrific murder rate didn’t deter us (nor anyone else that we knew) from going downtown to visit museums, take in musical performances at the Kennedy Center, see our doctor ...or play ice hockey (though we stopped playing at the Fort Dupont rink after our goalie was mugged in the parking lot one night).

So why are Americans so fearful of going to México?    The answer, if course, is the incessant drumbeat of U.S. “mainstream” media propaganda.  Those who control our government don't want unemployed, underemployed, or foreclosed-upon Americans to find out that their lives could actually be better down here in México.

Related articles posted by the author:

Proof that U.S. border cities were safer than cities farther from the border even before the U.S. government began spending billions of dollars on added fences and border patrol agents

A short but stirring history of México and why it is well worth visiting

A nice video that tells it like it really is down in San Carlos, Sonora, México. It features a couple of neighbors whose home is a couple blocks up the hill from us. 

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