In a relatively short period the Pacific coast state of Colima — one of Mexico’s smallest in area and population — has gone from being one of the country’s most peaceful to having the highest homicide rate, an unwelcome title it has held for two consecutive years.
And this year is shaping up to be even worse.
The rate of 13.92 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014 increased five fold to 71.22 in 2016, according to data from the National Public Security System (SNSP).
The National Statistics Institute, Inegi, reported a similar increase but recorded even worse figures. It said there were 20 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014, 31 in 2015 and a sharp spike to 82 in 2016.
According to the SNSP statistics, in 2007 there were just 30 homicides in Colima and 33 in 2008 but in 2012 the number jumped to 287 before falling again. However, 524 homicides in 2016 assured its place at the head of the list.
The security situation in 2017 has deteriorated even further with 478 homicides recorded to August 1, only 46 less than the total for all of 2016. More than 80% of all homicides occur in the municipalities of Manzanillo, Tecomán and Colima.
Authorities attribute its place at the top of the most violent list to the size of the state although they also argue that a turf war between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel and its strategic location have contributed to the upsurge in homicides.
“. . . the statistics by that methodology of 100,000 inhabitants put us in a very unfavorable position,” said Attorney General Guadalupe Franco. He pointed out that in absolute numbers, Colima is in 17th place.
Colima is Mexico’s fifth smallest state by area and its population of just over 700,000 makes it the country’s least populated.
Tecomán Mayor Guadalupe García agreed that Colima’s size was a factor although he stressed that it cannot be seen in isolation.
“Yes, it’s magnified but it must be recognized that an [insecurity problem] also exists . . . I’m not saying, ‘you know what? Nothing happens in Colima,’ not at all . . . .”
Colima Mayor Héctor Insúa also pointed to the state’s proximity to Jalisco and Michoacán. He said a dispute between well-known criminal organizations from those states that want to control pint-sized Colima was also a factor contributing to increasing insecurity.
Homicide is not the only crime on the rise in Colima. Violent robberies of homes and businesses, muggings and vehicle theft have also grown, statistics show.
The alarming figures have led a citizen’s council and the business sector to protest in the state capital to pressure authorities to crack down on perpetrators with the full force of the law.
Source: Milenio (sp)