113.1 Firearm homicide in Mexico 1990-2009: Trends, spatial variations and associated factors

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 12:30 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Guillermo Julian GONZALEZ-PEREZ , University of Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Mexico
This paper analyzes the trend of firearm homicide rate in Mexico in last two decades and seeks to identify the social variables that better explain the spatial variations of firearm homicide rate in Mexico in biennial 2008-2009. Data for this study was obtained from official sources; trends of firearm homicide rates by age groups, gender and level of marginalization between 1990 and 2009 were analyzed; for each Mexican state, firearm homicide rates in biennial 2008-2009 were calculated; stepwise multiple linear regression analysis was used to identify the variables associated to interstate variations in firearm homicide rates. Findings show that the proportion of homicides committed with firearms has increased since 2000 (being in 2009 about 65%; the highest firearm homicide rate is observed in age group 30-39 (15 per 100,000 in 2009). Furthermore, male firearm homicide rates are clearly higher than female rates. Throughout the period, firearm homicide rates were much higher in the areas of greatest social exclusion. Moreover, regression model reflects that in states with highest levels of impunity (measured by the ratio “convicted of homicide / registered homicides”), most drug trafficking activities (measured by a proxy “destroyed hectares of marijuana and opiate per 1,000 inhabitants”) and firearms possession (measured by a proxy “confiscated fire guns per 1,000 inhabitants”) the firearms homicide rates were extremely high. These were the cases of Chihuahua and Baja California -states in U.S. border- and Sinaloa, in northwest Mexico. When these factors are combined with high levels of social exclusion, rates were also high, as the case of Guerrero. In a context characterized by insecurity, impunity and social exclusion, aspects such as improving the standard of living of the population,  modify the judicial system or have better control of firearms are necessary to reduce firearm homicides rates in Mexico.