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Averaging seven murders a day in 2009, Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez, a city of roughly 1.5 million people, has the highest murder rate in the world.
“The upsurge in murders in Juarez is a result of an escalating turf war between the Sinaloa cartel, run by Mexico’s most-wanted man Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman and the Juarez cartel, according to Victor Valencia, the public security secretary in the state of Chihuahua” (BBC).
Of the 1,986 murders so far in 2009—a jump from 815 in 2008—most involved gang members of feuding drug cartels fighting to gain control of the local drug trade, as well as the smuggling route into El Paso, Texas, which is just across the border. El Paso “has for years been one of the main transit points for cocaine passing from Mexico into the U.S.” (ibid).
Juarez’s “annual murder rate has now reached 133 per 100,000 inhabitants, surpassing Caracas, Venezuela. The comparable murder rate in New York last year was six per 100,000” (The Telegraph).
Of the nearly 2,000 murders, victims include 107 women, 85 children, and 49 police officers. Many killings involved decapitations, dismemberments—even ripping apart a victim tied between two trucks.
Most of the killings remain unsolved.