Mexico’s efforts to fight organised crime in its most violent municipalities are yet to show tangible results six months later. Despite concerted efforts by the government to fight crime, homicide rates continue to rise. In the six months between September last year and February this year, there was an increase in homicides in 37 of the 50 municipalities targeted by the government’s latest effort.
While launching the initiative in August, President Enrique Pena Nieto had noted that 42 percent of the total homicides in the country in 2016 were committed in only 2 percent of Mexico’s municipalities. This is what led to the government’s strategy to focus on the most affected municipalities.
However, a report recently released by Animal Politico shows that only 12 of the 50 municipalities that were targeted actually saw a decrease in homicides. Only one municipality remained the same. Eight saw homicides double while three saw them triple or more.
The municipalities most affected by the violence are in states that have a long history of organised crime. One example is Tamaulipas. In this state, 90 percent of the total homicides are reported to have links to organised crime. Reynosa, which is the most violent municipality in Tamaulipas, is a hotbed for fuel theft and drug trafficking due to its proximity to the border with the US and also large gas field in the Burgos Basin.
Another violent municipality in Tamaulipas, Ciudad Victoria, saw a transfer of local political power in mid-2016 and it is suspected that as criminal groups realigned, there was a resultant rise in violence.
It is clear that the government’s security strategy has not been entirely successful in many of the municipalities and this has overshadowed the few success stories. This is the clearest indicator that Mexico’s effort to rein in on violence is going to be a long and hard one.
In the meantime, the government is going to have to come up with a better plan than the 50-city strategy that has failed badly.