MEXICO CITY – Nearly 19,000 homicides of all types occurred in Mexico in 2009, making the country No. 6 in the world in terms of homicides, consulting firm Grupo Multisistemas de Seguridad Industrial said in a new study.
South Africa has the highest homicide rate in the world, with 126 per 100,000 people, followed by Colombia, with 114.5, Guatemala, with 44, Thailand, with 41.5, Paraguay, with 19.4, and Mexico, with 12 per 100,000 people, the study said.
The number of people murdered in Mexico shot up in recent years following the arrests of several leaders of organized crime groups, mainly drug cartels.
A total of 14,000 murders were registered in Mexico in 1996, with the number falling to 10,800 in 2000.
“Each homicide affects three or four different people related to the person killed in terms of the psychological, social and legal effects it produces,” Grupo Multisistemas de Seguridad Industrial chief Alejandro Desfassiaux said.
The study found that of the 18,900 homicides that occurred in Mexico last year, some 63 percent were murders, 11.1 percent were multiple murders, 8.5 percent were killings of police officers and 7.6 percent were involuntary homicides, with smaller percentages involving killings of the elderly and infants.
The homicide rate has soared, according to the study, because Mexicans have some 15 million firearms in their possession.
Firearms can be easily obtained at some 12,000 places along the U.S.-Mexican border and in Mexican cities, the study said.
Some gun dealers confirmed that they receive shipments of about 60 light arms, including pistols, shotguns, rifles and grenade launchers, every two weeks, Grupo Multisistemas de Seguridad Industrial researchers said.
Anti-aircraft weapons, mortars, grenades and landmines are also available on the market, the researchers said.
The states with the highest homicide rates in the June 21, 2009, to June 21, 2010, period were Chihuahua, Sinaloa, the Federal District, Guerrero, Nuevo Leon, Mexico state and Michoacan.
The lowest homicide rates were registered in Queretaro, Tlaxcala and Baja California Sur.
Most of the murders in Mexico have been committed by the La Familia, Los Zetas, Juarez, Gulf and Tijuana cartels, as well as the numerous street gangs operating in cities across the country. EFE