Quick – which national capital has the higher murder rate: Mexico City or Washington, D.C.? If you answered Mexico City, you’d be in good company – after all, Mexico is a war zone, isn’t it? But you would be wrong, on both counts.
Based on FBI crime statistics for 2010 and Mexican government data released early this year, Mexico City’s drug-related-homicide rate per 100,000 population was one-tenth of Washington’s overall homicide rate – 2.2 deaths per 100,000 population compared with 22. (Drug violence accounts for most murders in Mexico, which historically does not have the gun culture that reigns in the United States.)
And while parts of Mexico can be legitimately likened to a war zone, drug violence afflicts 80 of the country’s 2,400 municipalities (equivalent to counties). Their locations have been well publicized: along the U.S. border in northern Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas states, and south to Sinaloa, Michoacan and parts of San Luis Potosi, Nayarit, Jalisco, Guerrero and Morelos states.
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