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FEATURE STORY

Mexican Youth: Authors and Victims of Violence

March 5, 2013


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World Bank

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mexican youth represent a little more than 38% of the homicide victims in the country in the last decade, according to a report.
  • The youth homicide rate tripled from 2008 to 2010.
  • According to a World Bank expert, prevention is key to avoid that these numbers continue to grow.

Mexican youth represent a little more than 38% of the homicide victims in the country in the last decade, according to the report “Youth violence in Mexico” (sp), published in June 2012 by the World Bank.

The youth homicide rate tripled in only two years, from 2008 to 2010, when it reached 25.5 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.

According to studies quoted in the World Bank analysis, one of the main causes for the violence increase has been the disputes between criminal organizations dedicated to drug trafficking.

Youth homicides have concentrated in the north of the country, according to the study. In 2010, more than half occurred in five states: Chihuahua, Sinaloa, the State of Mexico, Baja California and Guerrero. Moreover, the use of firearms in youth homicides almost tripled from 2007 and 2010.

The direct and indirect economic costs of insecurity and violence in the country – among other things the health costs, or the cost of having more people in prisons – are estimated in billions of dollars, according to research quoted in the report.


" A child that grows up in poverty, without access to quality education and with limited opportunities to get involved in productive activities, can easily be caught in a violence circle that continues into his or her adult life. "

2010: More than half of the crimes, committed by youth

Youth not only have been victims, but also the majority of the aggressors, a trend found in the whole region. More than half of the crimes in 2010 were committed by youth, the study states. From these young people, the majority were between 18 and 25 years old and almost all of them (9 out of 10) were men.

“A child that grows up in poverty, without access to quality education and with limited opportunities to get involved in productive activities, can easily be caught in a violence circle that continues into his or her adult life, “ it is explained in the study.

Seeing the study´s numbers, Flavia Carbonari, citizen security specialist and co-author of the report, says that it is apparent that there is a need for a comprehensive policy towards youth.

 “It’s very important for the government to work in the prevention side – to continue preventing that these numbers grow, and that youth get involved in criminal activities and be part of the statistics that we have seen,” Carbonari says.

It seems that the government is taking a step in that direction. Recently, President Enrique Peña Nieto presented the National Program for the Social Prevention of Crime and Violence.

Nine Ministries, among them the Ministry of Public Education and the Labor Ministry, participate in the program.

About the World Bank in Mexico

The World Bank is collaborating with Mexico on development issues by offering a whole array of knowledge, financial and convening activities, including giving technical assistance and analysis, and bringing key stakeholders together.


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