Wednesday, September 23, 2009

1730 Homicides and Counting

From a Norte story this morning by Hérika Martínez Prado: Yesterday homicide number 1730 this year was recorded. The discovery of an unidentified dead body in an irrigation ditch in Zaragoza near the border crossing there yesterday morning made it 1730. He had suffered gunshot wounds to the mouth, cheek, right pectoral, and forehead. Number 1729 was a man, Edwin Carlos Calixto Paniagua, 22, discovered at 10 a.m. yesterday morning on the Camino Real highway with gunshot wounds to the jawbone, right eye, chest, and neck. Seven spent 45 caliber cartridges were found near the body. The bodies of the four persons executed in room No. 27 at the "La Cupula" motel on Monday were identified. Their names were: Jimmy Albehert Moreno Macías, 21, Daniel Iván Torres Gutiérrez, 22, Brenda Lisette Fernández Torres, 20, and Yolanda Vanessa Torres Fernández, 23. Ms. Vanessa Torres was from New Mexico. Twenty six spent 7.62x39 casings, used in AK-47s, were found nearby, plus three 9 mm casings.

From Diario: This morning (Wednesday) three bodies were found in Valle de Juárez (The South Valley of Juárez), one of them decapitated, head next to the body, wrapped in a sleeping bag. At 12:35 a.m. this morning four persons, including the wife of one of the men, were murdered as they were driving in a red car in Col. Arroyo Colorado. Dozens of spent casings were found near the vehicle. Then at 1 a.m. this morning (Wednesday) a man was shot and killed as he left a nightclub, "Eduardo's," on Vicente Guerrero and Honduras. The man was wearing a white sweatshirt, white and blue running shoes, blue denim trousers and a black belt. He was dark, medium-sized, with a mustache, and he was carrying a bracelet in his hands. By my count we are now at 1738 so far this year, so my headline is already out of date.

If we extrapolate the 1730 (yesterday's figure) and project the same rate for the rest of the year we would arrive at 2374 persons murdered for the year ending December 31, 2009. Using a reasonable estimate of 1.5 million population in Juarez, this would place the homicide rate at 158.

This would place Juárez easily as the murder capital of the world. In a Foreign Policy article for September 2008 (click here for the article) Caracas was at that time named the highest homicide city in the world, at 130 per 100,000 population, and Cape Town South Africa was listed as second, at 62. I looked up Baghdad and found a good article from the Brookings Institutions (click here for a copy) which estimates the homicide rate there at 95 (the article sorts out war-related deaths as well) in 2006. A Time magazine article this year (click here) puts the Baghdad rate at 48, slightly higher than St. Louis in 2008 which came in at 47. Global homicide rates per city are more difficult to get hold of than you might think at first. But there are places in the U.S. that aren't too far behind the worst cities in the world, such as New Orleans, which the FBI estimated in 2008 had a murder rate per 100,000 of 64. The U.S. average in 2008 was 5.6.

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