By: Patricia Ann Talley, MBA and Editor
When I tell people that I live in Guerrero, Mexico, I am often asked about corruption and crime. Foreigners ask, “Is Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Safe?” Of course we have crime, there is crime everywhere. But, I tell people to compare us to the crime in their own home towns, especially in big cities in the USA.
Crime Report for Guerrero, Mexico
Semáforo , Mexico’s Citizens’ Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice recently published its annual crime report. In 2015, the homicide rate for the country was 14.21 per 100,000 residents. The state of Guerrero had the most homicides within the nation with 2,016 cases, representing 12% of the national total. The rate for Guerrero was 56.84 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
The state’s ranking in the country is greatly affected by the city of Acapulco that had 216 of the 532 cases, or 41% of the homicides within the state. Acapulco ranks third on the council’s list of the 50 Most Dangerous Cities in the World, with a homicide rate of 104.16 per 100,000 inhabitants. 1
Crime Report for Ixtapa Zihuatanejo , Guerrero
The Zihuatanejo Police Department reports that there were 13 murders in the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area in 2015 for a rate of 10.83 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. Compare these statistics to the homicide rates in USA cities like St. Louis with a rate of 49.93, Detroit at 44.87, New Orleans at 39.61, and Baltimore at 33.92.1 You can download the complete Zihuatanejo Police Report: ZIHUATANEJO COMPARATIVO ANUAL 2014 – 2015.
Ixtapa Zihuatanejo does not have gang violence, youth shootings, and hate crimes on the scales of some big cities. But, we do observe that “crimes of poverty” are on the rise – home thefts, vehicle robberies, etc. And, there is the influence of the cartels that traffic drugs through our state for distribution in the USA. Over the past few years, the agricultural and fishing industries have been on decline from bad weather, and small business revenues have declined due to the increase in imports of American and Chinese products.
Approximately 55.3 million Mexicans, or 46.2 percent of the population, live in poverty. Guerrero has the third-highest poverty rate in the nation at 65.2 percent, but the level has decreased in recent years. The “extreme poverty” line is at 1,242.61 pesos per month ($702 USD) in urban areas and 868.25 ($54 USD) in rural areas, plus the lack of three or more social needs. 2
If we want to sustain peace and reduce crime, we must help to provide ways for people to earn money and have a good quality of life. If we want our kids to say “no” to the drug industry, the focus must be on education, industry diversification, and entrepreneurial development to provide future jobs and income. This is why, in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, we focus on peace education and providing economic development for tools for our youth.
Back in 2010, the community of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo started a peace education program in conjunction with local government officials, schools and universities, and local civic organizations. In 2015, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo became an International City of Peace, demonstrating our community’s continued commitment to the United Nations sustainable goals for peace.
If we want peace, we have to teach peace – AND, provide our youth with economic opportunities so that they can make a living and provide for their families. This is peace in action!
And, before you ask about crime in our city, check out the statistics in your home town! See: MSN:The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in America.
* About the author: Patricia Ann Talley is a Whitney Young, Jr. Fellow of Economic Development from the University of Michigan, and participates on the Council of City Leaders for the International Cities of Peace Organization. She is the founder of the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Peace program and has been a resident for 18 years.
- Acapulco, St. Louis, Detroit, and Baltimore Among 50 Most Dangerous Cities in the World
- Flashpoints of the new poverty: Veracruz, the State of Mexico: http://www.eldailypost.com/politics/2015/07/flashpoints-of-the-new-poverty-veracruz-and-the-state-of-mexico/
For more information about the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area, see: