Juárez now less violent than New Orleans

Juárez police Chief Julian Leyzaola, left, and Mayor Hector "Teto" Murguia answer questions Friday at a news conference. (Photo courtesy the city of Juárez)

Juárez police Chief Julian Leyzaola, left, and Mayor Hector “Teto” Murguia answer questions Friday at a news conference. (Photo courtesy the city of Juárez)

Here’s the list of most violent cities

Michael Scanlon

Rio Grande Digital

Ciudad Juárez, infamous for unrelenting violence during the term of President Felipe Calderon, has fallen from No. 1 to No. 19 on the list of the world’s most violent cities, according to Mexico’s Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, a non-governmental organization.

In its 2012 rankings released this week, the organization noted that Juárez had 749 homicides last year — or 55.91 homicides for every 100,000 residents. In comparison, New Orleans — No. 17 on the list — counted 56.13 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. Detroit was No. 21 with 54.63 homicides per 100,000. [See Top 50 list below.]

In 2010, Juarez had a rate of 229 homicides per 100,000 residents, making it the most violent city in the world.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras, was the world’s most violent city in 2012 with 169.3 homicides per 100,000. The Mexican beach resort Acapulco is No. 2 with a rate of 142.88.

“We are on the right track,” said Juárez Mayor Hector “Teto” Murguia, who took office in October 2010. “I believe that further efforts are needed. We will not settle for this. We can go down further so that this city is a national model.”

In a news release, Murguia said the city will redouble its efforts and strive to make Juárez the safest city in the world.

Shortly after taking office, Murguia hired a new police chief, Julian Leyzaola, who promptly fired hundreds of allegedly corrupt police officers, divided the city into sectors and instituted community policing programs. Police now aggressively enforce laws against even minor things in Juárez, such as selling merchandise on the street without a permit.

Juárez and the Mexican federal government also have invested millions of pesos in facilities and programs aimed at “mending the social fabric” of the city.

In January, Juárez had 30 homicides — slightly less than one a day. If that rate holds for the year, the city will have fewer than half as many homicides as in 2012, probably knocking it off the Top 50 list entirely.

In a news release issued Friday afternoon, Murguia made a veiled reference to allegations of abuse by city police officers under Leyzaola’s command.

“We are not tolerant of abuses against the people,” he said.

The 50 most violent cities in the world:

 

Rank City Country Homicides Population Rate
1 San Pedro Sula Honduras

1,218

719,447

169.30

2 Acapulco México

1,170

818,853

142.88

3 Caracas Venezuela

3,862

3,247,971

118.89

4 Distrito Central Honduras

1,149

1,126,534

101.99

5 Torreón México

1,087

1,147,647

94.72

6 Maceió Brasil

801

932,748

85.88

7 Cali Colombia

1,819

2,294,653

79.27

8 Nuevo Laredo México

288

395,315

72.85

9 Barquisimeto Venezuela

804

1,120,718

71.74

10 João Pessoa Brasil

518

723,515

71.59

11 Manaus Brasil

945

1,342,846

70.37

12 Guatemala Guatemala

2,063

3,062,519

67.36

13 Fortaleza Brasil

1,628

2,452,185

66.39

14 Salvador (y RMS) Brasil

2,391

3,642,682

65.64

15 Culiacán México

549

884,601

62.06

16 Vitoria Brasil

1,018

1,685,384

60.40

17 New Orleans Estados Unidos

193

343,829

56.13

18 Cuernavaca México

359

640,188

56.08

19 Juárez México

749

1,339,648

55.91

20 Ciudad Guayana Venezuela

578

1,050,283

55.03

21 Detroit Estados Unidos

386

706,585

54.63

22 Cúcuta Colombia

346

637,302

54.29

23 São Luís Brasil

509

1,014,837

50.16

24 Medellín Colombia

1,175

2,393,011

49.10

25 Kingston Jamaica

568

1,171,686

48.48

26 Belém Brasil

1,033

2,141,618

48.23

27 Cape Town Sudáfrica

1,722

3,740,026

46.04

28 Cuiabá Brasil

380

839,130

45.28

29 Santa Marta Colombia

209

461,810

45.26

30 Recife Brasil

1,656

3,717,640

44.54

31 Valencia Venezuela

977

2,227,165

43.87

32 Chihuahua México

367

843,844

43.49

33 San Juan Puerto Rico

185

427,789

43.25

34 Goiânia Brasil

547

1,302,001

42.01

35 Puerto Príncipe Haití

495

1,234,414

40.10

36 Victoria México

126

333,517

37.78

37 Pereira Colombia

167

462,230

36.13

38 Nelson Mandela Bay Sudáfrica

415

1,152,115

36.02

39 Maracaibo Venezuela

784

2,212,040

35.44

40 ST. Louis Estados Unidos

113

319,294

35.39

41 Baltimore Estados Unidos

217

619,493

35.03

42 Curitiba Brasil

597

1,751,907

34.08

43 Oakland Estados Unidos

131

395,817

33.10

44 San Salvador El Salvador

744

2,290,790

32.48

45 Macapá Brasil

160

499,116

32.06

46 Durban Sudáfrica

1,065

3,442,361

30.94

47 Monterrey México

1,305

4,230,716

30.85

48 Belo Horizonte Brasil

1,452

4,882,977

29.74

49 Brasilia Brasil

764

2,570,160

29.73

50 Barranquilla Colombia

349

1,186,640

29.41

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