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Michelle Breslauer, Institute for Economics and Peace

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Mexicos 5-Year Gains in Peace Slow Significantly in 2015

Improvement in peacefulness in the past year was the smallest increment since 2011
Mexico has seen a 10% decline in the rate of violent crime and an 8% decrease in the rate of
organized crime-related offenses in the last year.
However, the homicide rate deteriorated for the first time in four years, with a 6% increase in the
number of people killed between 2014 and 2015.
The states that improved the most in peacefulness since 2011 are: Nayarit, Durango, Nuevo Leon,
Chihuahua, and Baja California. In 2011, these states were among the seven least peaceful.
In 2015, the total economic impact of violence in Mexico was 2.12 trillion pesos, which is
equivalent to 13% of the nations GDP.
Mexico has the second highest surplus of Positive Peace in the world, indicating its potential to
improve in peacefulness.
Investments in the effective implementation of judicial reforms, improvements to data collection
and lowering of levels of corruption are key to future gains.
Mexico City, April 7, 2016. Peace in Mexico has improved in the last year by 0.3%, but the annual rate of
progress has slowed significantly, according to the Mexico Peace Index (MPI), released today.
While Mexico saw a 10% decrease in the rate of violent crimes and 8% decrease in the rate of organized
crime in the last year, this was countered by a 6% increase in the homicide rate, as well as increases in the
rates of crimes committed with firearms and prisoners incarcerated without a sentence.
The MPI, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, provides a comprehensive assessment of the
level of peace in Mexico, detailing the peacefulness of each of the 32 states of the country during the past
13 years. The analysis takes into account multiple sources, public surveys, and methodological guidance
from an expert panel, adjusting, where possible, official data to account for underreporting. The report
also evaluates the costs associated with violence and the socio-economic factors related to peace in
Mexico, known as Positive Peace.
Since the height of the drug war in 2011, the countrys level of peacefulness has improved by 13%.
According to the report, 25 of the 32 Mexican states are more peaceful than they were in 2011, with rates
of violent crime, homicide and organized crime-related offenses down by nearly 30% for the period from
2011 to 2015. It is too early to determine if the minor improvement in peacefulness in 2015 is an exception
to the current 5-year trend or if peacefulness will continue to plateau.

The MPI indicates that about 85% of Mexicans live in states that are more peaceful today than they were in
2011. The states with the greatest improvements in peacefulness since 2011 are: Nayarit, Durango, Nuevo
Leon, Chihuahua, and Baja California. In 2011, these were among the seven least peaceful states.
The report has identified a worrying trend towards greater impunity, with the rate of convictions for
homicide dramatically deteriorating since 2007. In that year, there were four convictions for every five
cases of murder, but by 2013 there was only one conviction for every five cases. This, coupled with the
increase in prisoners being held without trial, reveals the saturation of the judicial system, as indicated by
the statistics of prison overcrowding.
The five most peaceful states in 2015 are: Hidalgo, Yucatn, Veracruz, Tlaxcala and San Luis Potos, while
the least peaceful states are Guerrero, Sinaloa, Morelos, Baja California and Baja California Sur.
The report stresses the need for government bodies to improve data capacity. The current reliability of
official crime statistics in Mexico is a concern, as indicated by the following factors: 93% of some crimes are
not reported (referred to in Mexico as cifra negra); the 20% discrepancy in 11 states between the numbers
of homicides registered by the Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pblica (SESNSP)
compared to those recorded in death certificates by the Instituto Nacional de Estadstica y Geografa
(INEGI); and the data published by Registro Nacional de Datos de Personas Extraviadas o Desaparecidas
(RNPED) that lists over 26,000 people as disappeared since 2007 who remain missing, a figure considered
to be conservative.
To illustrate this challenge, the MPI includes a discussion on the accuracy of official data, with the state of
Veracruz topping the list. While Veracruz ranks as the third most peaceful state in the MPI, it also records
the highest discrepancy in the reporting of homicide victims between SESNSP and INEGI. SESNSP only
recorded 63% as many homicides as INEGI in 2014. Mexicos victimization survey also reports that 80% of
citizens in the state of Veracruz feel insecure.
However, there is great potential to improve peacefulness. In comparison to countries with similar levels of
violence, Mexico benefits from the second highest difference in the world between its actual peace and its
Positive Peace, the factors that sustain peaceful societies. This is reflected in the relatively high scores in
the domains of sound business environment, equitable distribution of resources, and good relations with
neighboring countries. Investing in improving the judicial system and lowering levels of corruption will lead
to improvements in peacefulness, which will reap social and economic rewards.
Mexico is investing in police, judicial and penal system reforms, including the New Criminal Justice System
(NSJP), the implementation deadline for which is in June 2016. This will allow defendants to challenge
prosecution evidence more effectively, and should reduce trial times. It will also establish the presumption
of innocence to accused parties, guarantee their right to a licensed public defender, and prohibit torture,
intimidation and incommunicado detention. As of March 2014, the public security secretariat has also
been required by law to publish victim counts for the investigations into homicide, kidnapping and
extortion, a requirement that represents advancement in efforts towards transparency.
The economic impact of violence in 2015 was 2.12 trillion pesos (US $134 billion), the equivalent of 13% of
Mexico's GDP. This corresponds to 17,525 pesos per person, roughly equal to two months' salary of an
average Mexican worker. Improvements in levels of peace have generated an economic benefit of 802
billion pesos (US $50 billion) in Mexico in the four years since 2011. This is a reduction of 38% in the
economic impact of violence, equivalent to about 1.5 times the size of agricultural production in Mexico in
a year.

"Mexico has an opportunity to reach higher levels of peace, but the country needs to confront two
fundamental problems: the administration of justice and corruption. Improvements will have direct
benefits given that the states with the lowest levels of peace are the states where corruption levels are
perceived to be the greatest," said Patricia de Obeso, Manager of IEP in Mexico.
The report also highlights the relationship between the attitudes, institutions and structures of Positive
Peace and the pace of recovery from the high levels of violence experienced in 2011. States with higher
levels of Positive Peace, such as Nuevo Len in particular, have shown greater improvements in their MPI
scores in the last five years.
Viewing the levels of violence in Mexico through the approach of Positive Peace provides us with an
understanding of how the country can go about improving peacefulness. Since violence peaked in 2011,
most states have seen improvements in their peacefulness. Those improvements have been consistently
larger in states with higher levels of Positive Peace, where there has been greater resilience to cartel
violence, said Steve Killelea, Executive Chairman of IEP.
For more information on the Mexico 2016 Peace Index (including interactive maps) and to download the
report, visit www.visionofhumanity.org
The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) (Institute for Economics and Peace) is an independent think
tank, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting a better understanding of social and
economic factors that develop a more peaceful society.
The Mexico Peace Index is based on a similar methodology as previous IEP indices, including the United
States Peace Index and the United Kingdom Peace Index; however additional measures were included to
better reflect the specific Mexican cultural and national context.
For the Mexico Peace Index, seven indicators were used to analyze peace: homicide rates, violent crimes,
weapons crime, detention without a sentence, police funding, efficiency of the justice system, and the
level of organized crime. It should be noted that the study was performed with the guidance of an Expert
Panel representing various institutions such as CIDE, Mxico Evala, INEGI, IMCO, Causa en Comn,
Stanford University, Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano, and Jurimetria. The Mexico Peace Index 2016 uses
data provided by the Federal Government through INEGI and SESNSP.
For more information about the Institute for Economics and Peace, visit www.economicsandpeace.org; or
join the conversation on Twitter: @IndicedePaz.