Skip to main content

KPBS Radio is undergoing scheduled upgrade work which may result in temporary signal outages.

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Tokyo Olympics

Report: Homicides Up In Mexico For First Time Since Peña Nieto Took Office

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Associated Press

A police officers shows casings he gathered just outside the fence line of Rancho del Sol, a ranch that was the site of clashes between Mexican authorities and a drug cartel, in the municipality of Ecuandureo, Mexico, May 23, 2015.


David Shirk, associate professor of political science, University of San Diego


Homicides are up in Mexico after years of decline that started when President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in 2012, according to a new report by researchers at the University of San Diego.

The report, titled "Drug Violence in Mexico," shows homicides increased by 8 percent from 2014 to 2015. But researchers say it's too early to tell if this signals a reversal of the downward trend.

"For one thing, it suggests that previous progress in reducing homicides was not necessarily attributable to the increased effectiveness of law enforcement or government policy," the report states. "For another thing, it raises questions about current dynamics among organized crime groups, and whether there is potential for escalation moving forward."

In Tijuana, while homicides are down from the record 2008 levels, homicides jumped from 462 in 2014 to 612 in 2015. Tijuana remains the second most violent city in Mexico after Acapulco.

Researchers say the reasons behind the recent increase in homicides are complex, and range they from economics to legal accountability. But one contributing factor could be Mexico's shifting drug trafficking landscape and the emergence of "cartelitos."

"The landscape of drug trafficking in Mexico now appears to be dominated by one powerful 'cartel' amid many cartelitos," the researchers say. "Because most of the smaller, regional criminal organizations have far lesser capability to finance and manage major drug trafficking operations, these cartelitos are arguably a much greater threat to public security, in that they obtain revenue through kidnapping, robbery, and extortion."

David Shirk, associate political science professor at the University of San Diego and co-author of the report, discusses the findings on KPBS Midday Edition Midday.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Midday Edition banner

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.