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Violence in the NGO's list-topping city of Celaya, Guanajuato, is so rampant that last July, fed-up residents took to the streets to demand authorities do something. Violence in the NGO's list-topping city of Celaya, Guanajuato, is so rampant that last July, fed-up residents took to the streets to demand authorities do something.

Security-focused NGO ranks 18 Mexican cities among world’s 50 most violent

Mexican cities held the first top six spots on the list

Seven Mexican cities were among the world’s 10 most violent in 2020, and 18 were among the top 50, according to a study by a Mexican nongovernmental organization.

The Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice (CCSPJP) ranked Celaya, Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, Ciudad Obregón, Irapuato, Ensenada and Uruapan in the top 10 in its annual ranking of the world’s 50 most violent cities.

Celaya, a midsized city in Guanajuato, topped the list with 109.38 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2020.

Mexican cities occupied positions 2 through 6 as well: Tijuana, Baja California, ranked second with a murder rate of 105.15 per 100,000 people, followed by Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua (103.61); Ciudad Obregón, Sonora (101.13); Irapuato, Guanajuato (94.99); and Ensenada, Baja California (90.58).

With a per capita homicide rate of 72.59, Uruapan, Michoacán, was ranked as the eighth most violent city in the world in 2020, one spot behind St. Louis, Missouri. Feira de Santana, Brazil, and Cape Town, South Africa, rounded out the top 10.

According to the NGO’s study, the 11 other Mexican cities among the 50 most violent were Zacatecas (15th), Acapulco (18th), Culiacán (25th), Cuernavaca (26th), Morelia (27th), Chihuahua (32nd), Colima (35th), Cancún (44th), Ciudad Victoria (45th), León (47th) and Minatitlán (49th).

Guadalajara and Reynosa were among the 50 most violent cities in 2019, according to the Citizens Council, but didn’t appear on the 2020 list.

Although a recent survey by Mexico’s statistics agency Inegi revealed that the crime-ridden city of Fresnillo, Zacatecas, has the distinction of being the Mexican city where the highest percentage of residents say they feel unsafe, it did not meet the population threshold to be considered for the Citizens Council’s list. The NGO only analyzes homicide data for cities with populations of 300,000 or greater. The municipality of Fresnillo has a population of 240,532, according to Inegi’s 2020 census.

Cities in war zones are also excluded from the annual list.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the CCSPJP noted that it was the fourth consecutive year that a Mexican city had ranked as the most violent in the world. Tijuana was placed at the top of the 2019 list.

The NGO also noted that Mexico has more cities among the 50 most violent in the world than any other country. Brazil ranked second with 11, followed by Venezuela with six and the United States with five.

“Mexico has now been the global epicenter of homicidal violence for two years. It’s not a coincidence,” the CCSPJP said, asserting that the government of President López Obrador implemented “the worst [possible] policy of crime ‘control’” in 2019 and 2020, years in which there were more than 34,000 homicides.

It criticized the government for believing that criminals will behave well if they are not bothered by official security forces. The NGO also censured the government for believing that its social programs will stop people from committing crimes.

In a nutshell, it believes that López Obrador’s so-called “hugs, not bullets” security strategy is not working.

The CCSPJP called on citizens’ organizations and religious groups to speak out and denounce crime.

“We have to keep raising our voices. This crisis of violence, impunity and insecurity, together with the pandemic, puts peaceful coexistence at serious risk in all of Mexico,” it said.

Mexico News Daily 

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