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Comparing the Patterns and Trends of Homicide Mortality in Mexico and Colombia from 2000 to 2015 (Differences and Similarities)

Hernández JMR, Campuzano JC, Medina MH, Solorzano L and Chaparro PE

Background: Violence is a public health problem worldwide that affects many countries. Colombia has long had an armed conflict, and Mexico, in recent years, has presented a critical situation associated with drug trafficking.

Objective: Analyze and compare patterns and trends of mortality between Colombia and Mexico, 2000-2015.

Methods: Comparative longitudinal study that used data provided by the national entities of both countries. Analyze the causes related to violent mortality. A comparative analysis was made by country, year, age groups, causes and sex. Multivariate analysis was done, with the country as a dependent variable adjusted by sex, age groups and causes.

Findings: There were 576,994 homicides: 55.6% in Colombia: The main causes of death were firearms (Colombia 82% and Mexico 62%); strangulation was major in Mexico (7.5%) compared to Colombia (1.5%). In 2000, the risk of violent mortality was six times higher in Colombia; in 2015, it was reduced to 1.5 times. In Mexico, between 2006 and 2011 there was an increase of up to 150% in mortality due to this cause. The most affected were men, in productive age, by firearms and by sharp weapons.

Conclusions and policy implications: The increase in violent mortality in Mexico has been related to the fight against different forms of drug trafficking and groups outside the law; in this country, homicides suggest more suffering. In Colombia, it seems that measures such as the restriction on the carrying of weapons, state security policies since 2002 generated declines in violent mortality.

Both countries need to professionalize their police forces even more, they must work to diminish the circles of impunity, corruption, weaknesses of the justice system, lack of authority, and strengthen the presence of the state in the regions.