1 April 2011

The Catalist’s statistics-driven analysis of violence in Mexico provides a more accurate assessment of Mexico than many of the sensationalistic and non-contextualized news reports.  A website created to “empower the Mexican-American relationship,” the Catalist used international indicators for measuring violence in a country – the number of violent deaths per 100,000 people – to compare figures of Mexican violence with those of other Latin American countries and U.S. cities.

They found that, in fact, Mexico is one of the safest countries in Latin America, having lower numbers of violent deaths than popular Latin American destinations like Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela.  In comparing Mexico City to other U.S. cities, Mexico City came out on top in terms of safety.  With 9.8 violent deaths per 100,000 people, Mexico City had fewer deaths than U.S. cities like Houston (12.5), Phoenix (12.6), and Los Angeles (17.1).  While troubled Mexican cities like Ciudad Juarez have much higher violence statistics, they also account for most of Mexico’s violent deaths.

These figures not only help put reports of Mexico’s violence in context, but also paint a picture of what is true in many countries.  Some parts of countries can be more dangerous than others, and should be avoided.  Mexico as a whole is not plagued by violence, but travelers should be aware of dangerous cities to avoid.  Just as people in the U.S. might encourage travelers to take advantage of Chicago, while avoiding Detroit – people in Mexico would encourage tourists to experience Mexico City, while steering clear of Ciudad Juarez.  The article also acknowledges that sensationalistic news reports that don’t provide the whole picture unfairly hurt the cities and communities of Mexico that are safe, by driving away tourism and investment.

Read the full article here.