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August 30, 2010

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Not sure how this modifies anything. Granted that it appears that there were places in Mexico that were generally more violent than Juarez in the early to mid-nineties.

a) This doesn't change the fact that there are likely sub-areas in all three cities that are significantly more or less violent than the average. You mention that, "Miguel Hidalgo contains some of the nation’s richest neighborhoods". My guess would be that those neighborhoods are not the scene of a majority of the city's muggings, else the rich would do what money always lets you do, vote with your feet. Does it make sense that it was, in the recent past, experiencing open-warfare-like levels of violence?

b) Does it matter that the points of comparison are a half to a quarter the size of Juarez?

c) More importantly, there still appears to be a pretty big break in Juarez' level of violence circa 94-95; roughly a doubling.

“Does it make sense that [Miguel Hidalgo] was, in the recent past, experiencing open-warfare-like levels of violence?”

40 per 100,000 murders per capita, the early-1990s height, isn't quite an “open-warfare-like” level of violence, but it was higher than Juárez in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Yet it seemed safer than Juárez at the same time.

“Does it matter that the points of comparison are a half to a quarter the size of Juarez?”

I don't think so --- if anything, the fact that they were smaller should have made their high crime levels more obvious, not less.

“More importantly, there still appears to be a pretty big break in Juarez' level of violence circa 94-95; roughly a doubling.”

That's true; I'm pretty sure that we alse know why it doubled at that time. The interesting thing, and I'm not sure what to make of it, is that the crime increase seemed dramatic because Juárez was actually quite safe until then, not because the place became any more violent that many many other Mexican cities.

The post 2008 explosion, that's new.

Did you see this, btw, Noel:

Mexico is safer than Canada:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2010/08/mexico

Also, in all three places, the rate is falling - which is certainly not what I'd have expected.

Will: I did. The author pulls several fast ones, as he or she admits in the first paragraph. What they're noting is that the violence isn't endemic around the country, but exclusive to a few places.

Alex: true! To be fair, Juarez's violence explodes in 2008 (see the other posts in this series) but Mexico City and Toluca have remained relatively quiet.

That said, the reason why the recent violence in Monterrey makes so many nervous is the sense that if it could happen there, it could happen anywhere.

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