Nine of the top ten cities with the highest homicide rate are in Mexico

Colima, with 181.94 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, leads the ranking of cities with the highest murder rates in 2022, a ranking in which no Venezuelan city appears due to "lack of information."

Mexico continues to suffer an unrelenting crisis of violence and murder on its streets. According to a report ranking the 50 most violent cities in the world in 2022 by the organization Seguridad, Justicia y Paz: Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal A.C. (Security, Justice and Peace: Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice A.C.), nine of the ten cities that had the highest homicide rate per 100,000 inhabitants in 2022 are Mexican. This makes it the epicentre of world violence. The only city outside the country that is included in the top ten is New Orleans (United States).

With 181.94 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, Colima was the city with the highest rate last year, the third-highest ratio recorded since 2009 - the year the organization began its ranking. Its record soared with respect to 2021 -59.11-. This city, with a population of 330,329 inhabitants and located in the west of the country, ousted Zamora (Mexico) from the top of the ranking, which registered 196.63 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021. A total of 601 murders were recorded.

Ciudades Con Mayor Tasa de Homicidios_Voz Media by VozMedia on Scribd

Zamora is in second place. This town of 310,575 citizens, located between Guadalajara and Mexico City, reduced its homicide rate to 177.73 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021. A total of 552 murders were recorded.

After Zamora, Ciudad Obregón. This city located on the Gulf of California registered 138.23 murders per 100,000 inhabitants -454 homicides-. Next are Zacatecas (134.62; 490 homicides), Tijuana (105.12; 2,177 homicides), Celaya (99.64; 740 homicides), Uruapan (78.26; 282 homicides), New Orleans (70.56; 262 homicides), Juarez (67.69; 1,034 homicides) and Acapulco (65.55; 513 homicides).

By total number of homicides, the top three cities are located in South Africa: Cape Town, with 2,998 murders; Johannesburg, with 2,547, and Durban, with 2,405. These are cities with more than four million inhabitants, so their homicide rates per 100,000 inhabitants are lower.

AMLO and insecurity in Mexico: "There is no major problem"

According to the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System, a Mexican government agency, there were 50,182 homicides in Mexico in 2022, just over 2% less than in 2021 (51,328 homicides). During the first quarter of 2023, 12,317 homicides were recorded. These numbers place Mexico as one of the countries with the highest homicide rate in the Americas. Despite this, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has repeated on several occasions that the country is not immersed in a crisis of violence and murders.

In August 2022, AMLO said there was "no major problem" with Mexico's security, even though he knew that cartels and organized crime groups terrorize citizens. "I do not know if there is a connection or a black hand, if this has been orchestrated, if it has been articulated, what I have no doubt about is that our opponents, the conservatives, do help in the black propaganda," said the Mexican president.

Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, in 2014. File image.
El Chapo Guzmán, former leader of the Sinaloa cartel / Cordon Press

In March, on the occasion of the Biden Administration's warning to Americans not to travel to Mexico because of high crime, AMLO made controversial statements in which he said that his country was safer than the United States:

Mexico is safer than the United States. There is no problem to travel safely in Mexico. But this is also known by U.S. citizens and, of course, by our fellow countrymen who are there, they are well-informed.

No city in Venezuela?

Among the 50 cities included in the ranking of Security, Justice and Peace: Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal A.C., 46 are located in the Americas: in Mexico seventeen; in Brazil ten; in the United States seven; in Colombia six; in South Africa four; in Honduras two; one in Puerto Rico; one in Haiti; one in Ecuador; and one in Jamaica.

It should be noted that no Venezuelan city appears in the ranking. Strange. The organization explains that it was not included due to "a lack of minimally reliable information" from the regime of Nicolás Maduro. That's right: the Venezuelan government does not issue official crime figures. Therefore, the organization calculates that, if true data were available, "at least four Venezuelan cities" would have a homicide rate per 100,000 inhabitants sufficient to appear at the top of the list.

According to the NGO Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia (OVV), there were 2,328 murders perpetrated by citizens and 5,799 homicide cases under investigation in the country. There were also 1,240 deaths as a result of police interventions and 1,370 cases of reported disappearances.