Sat, Aug 04, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Calderon claims Mexico homicides are down 15%


Outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderon said on Thursday that homicides tied to organized crime have decreased by 15 percent in the first half of this year, although he did not offer exact numbers.

“In the case of homicides attributed to gang violence, the decline in murders is already close to 15 percent,” Calderon said at a meeting of the National Security Council.

Hector Larios, head of a non-governmental organization that tracks homicides nationwide and who was also at the meeting, was skeptical about the claim.

Calderon did not release figures to compare the information with data from previous years, and Larios said that Calderon’s assertion did not match figures compiled by his NGO, the National Citizen’s Observatory for Security.

Larios was upset because the government has stopped publishing detailed information on crime-related violence.

“The chronic deficiency of public data is another problem that prevents us from affirming with certainty that conditions in the country are improving,” Larios said.

After taking office in December 2006, Calderon used the country’s armed forces to crack down on Mexico’s powerful drug cartels.

The most recent official release states that 47,500 people died between December 2006 and September last year in drug trafficking-related homicides.

The government has since been revising its methodology, and no new figures have been released. There is no official toll of the total number of casualties for last year.

However, monthly counts conducted by some Mexican newspapers put the number of drug violence-related fatalities since 2006 at more than 50,000, and some NGOs say the number has already surpassed 60,000.

Calderon, from the conservative National Action Party, leaves office in December. He will be followed by Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

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