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A study by a risk consultancy firm ranks Mexico near the top of the list of the world’s most dangerous countries.
The Criminality Index created by Verisk Maplecroft evaluates the risk to people, businesses and economies caused by violent crime in 198 countries.
Mexico ranked behind only Afghanistan and Guatemala.
The index looks for the widespread prevalence of organized crime, drug trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, robbery and other criminal activities that involve or lead to violence.
Each country is given a numerical risk figure ranging from 10, which is low risk, t0 0, meaning high risk. Verisk Maplecroft also splits the countries it assesses into several risk profiles, ranging from low to extreme.
With a score of 1.17 points, the firm pronounced Mexico as an “extreme risk” country.
It identified the prevalence of drug trafficking organizations as the major driver of crime in Mexico, seen as the hub for trafficking drugs between South and North America.
These criminal organizations engage in a constant turf war and for control of drug transportation routes to consumers in developed economies.
Additionally, the gangs are involved in kidnapping, extortion and robbery, increasing the burden on businesses, which have to increase their investment in security and insurance in detriment to their productivity.
Verisk Maplecroft estimated that the cost of violence for Mexico during 2015 was US $134 billion.
With a homicide rate of 17 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2015 and over 26,000 enforced disappearances since 2007, “an overwhelming proportion of crime in Mexico is focused within the highly lucrative drug trade.”
“President Enrique Peña Nieto’s early security gains have unwound and homicide rates have once again begun rising,” said the firm’s Mexico analyst.
“With security forces facing budget cuts, a deterioration in the overall security environment is likely, leaving investors exposed to risks such as extortion, theft and potentially the kidnapping of personnel,” warned Grant Sunderland.