homicide rates observatorio nacional ciudadano

Colima municipalities on most-violent list

Three make the top-10 list of those with the highest homicide rates

A municipality in Colima is now the most violent in Mexico and some distance ahead of second-worst Acapulco, reveals a new report on violent crime.


Tecomán tops the list of the 10 most violent municipalities and is one of three in that state: Manzanillo follows in third place and Colima in seventh, according to data compiled for the 2016 High Impact Crime study presented by the Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano (National Citizens’ Observatory).

The organization uses homicide, kidnapping and extortion rates to determine the rankings with the greatest weight given to homicides.

The only state where there are more municipalities in the top 10 is Guerrero with four. Two are in Michoacán and one in Baja California.

Tecomán’s incidence of high-impact crime was 102.4 per 100,000 residents while Acapulco’s was 76 per 100,000, Manzanillo’s 67.2 and Colima’s 55.8.

State of Colima Interior Secretary Arnoldo Ochoa González attributed the rise in violence to turf wars between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel, primarily over control of the port of Manzanillo although he added that other more local factors are also at play including a lack of values, addiction and family crises.

Ochoa also said that because Colima had the lowest population of any state in the country, outbreaks of violence have a greater impact on per-capita statistics.


The state is seen as strategically important to organized crime groups, primarily because of the port at Manzanillo, which facilitates the importation of marijuana, cocaine, synthetic drugs and chemical precursors.

According to seizure records from the Mexican Navy, the state’s port was one of two in the country responsible for the greatest transportation of cocaine and marijuana in 2016, the other being Lázaro Cárdenas in Michoacán.

One response to that problem has been for Mexico’s marines to retake control of the country’s ports, which it did on June 17.

An analysis by InSight Crime, a foundation dedicated to the study of organized crime in the Americas, attributed that government decision to two trends.

Firstly, “the ports [in Mexico] are sieves through which all measures of contraband, drugs and weapons pass” and secondly, “the marines have become one of the most trustworthy institutions fighting criminal groups.”

However, the organization did also note that “militarization has yet to become a panacea for any of this country’s organized crime issues.”

A study by México Evalúa — a think tank that analyzes and evaluates the performance of government programs — found that while security had improved in the municipalities of Tecomán and Colima after President Peña Nieto introduced a new security strategy to fight crime in the country’s 50 most violent municipalities, violent crime actually increased in Manzanillo, reflected in its rise from 34th most violent to 10th.

Alberto Begné, Undersecretary for Crime Prevention in the federal Secretariat of the Interior, said the homicide rate in Colima made it comparable to the most violent Central American countries.

“Colima is a high-priority case. It was a peaceful state with good, acceptable rates of well-being and suddenly the rates shot up to extremely high levels that exceed the national average by far and place it at the level of Central American countries with the highest rates of violence.”

The deteriorating security situation even led authorities to deploy the Navy to patrol the streets of Manzanillo last month, some on foot.

However, a naval commander attributed the upsurge in violence to small-time drug dealing conflict rather than massive smuggling operations.

“In the homicides that are occurring, we note that there is a relationship between the victim and the aggressor. They let them into their houses and the murders take place there; in all these cases it is seen that they are connected to retail drug dealing.”

Last year was the most violent on record for Colima with 600 homicides, a 359% increase over the 167 recorded in 2015.

That figure equates to 81.5 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, almost five times Mexico’s national rate of 17, well above the figures for Honduras and Guatemala and not far off the 91.8 figure recorded for Venezuela in 2016.

Homicide numbers have been rising across the country, fueling fears that 2017 could be the most violent in Mexico’s history.

Source: AF Medios (sp), 24 Horas (sp), Excélsior (sp), Meganoticias (sp), Proceso (sp)

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  • Mike S

    As long as most of the violence is between people who know each other well and is in their houses and over drugs- maybe the problem will eventually take care of itself. Who would be importing pot into Manzanillo? Have visited city of Colima many times…such a nice and peaceful city on the surface with friendly people. Comala is a real treasure. Felt safe at all times and all neighborhoods. .

    • ChCh

      You realize that victim-blaming is a long-standing strategy here, no? Could be true or maybe the whole idea is to provoke a general response such as yours…..

      • Mike S

        Your comment makes no sense. Could you expand and clarify?

        • ChCh

          if you read much about drug crime it is repeated over and over that victims are described as “involved” when a significant amount of time that is not true. It’s been studied, reported on, it is not new — saying “oh, it’s just dealers killing each other” is a strategy to minimize the people who are killed. Some of whom were not involved in the trade at all. Claro?

          • Mike S

            OK, what is the motivations for all this homicide of people who are not really involved in the drug trade? Is it just mentally ill people or other criminal motivations? I don’t understand how a spike this high this quickly in violent crime could be from anything else but outside drug cartels? Is it innocent people just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Is it the recent proliferation of guns?