Posted on Tue 22 January 2013

Interactive map of the drug war in Mexico

I’ve updated the interactive map I made last year to include the 2011 homicide data the INEGI recently released. Because of bad publicity the government will no longer update the drug war-related homicide database, so that dataset will forever remain stuck in September 2011.

The cool thing about the new version of map is that you can statistically correct some of the errors in the way homicides are recorded in Mexico.

Violent deaths can be classified as suicides, accidents, homicides, legal interventions and those of unspecified intent. There has been an upsurge in deaths of unspecified intent by firearm in Mexico at the same time all homicides increased, so it’s natural to assume that some of those unspecified deaths were really homicides.
To correct the mistakes here is what I did:
  • Classify all deaths of unknown intent into accidents, suicides and homicides based on the age, sex of the victim and injury mechanism by which the death occurred. The method I used is similar to the one I used in my Juarez post. For example, if someone told you to guess the intent of the death of a 70 year old woman that died in Merida (one of Mexico’s safest cities) by motor vehicle, you’d probably guess it was an accident. If you had to guess the intent of the death of a young male in Ciudad Juárez that died by firearm, you’d probably think it was an homicide.
  • Recode all deaths by legal intervention as homicides (the 19 deaths from the shootout between the army and the narcos in General Treviño and Mier were recorded as homicides) since it seems legal intervention deaths are not always classified correctly.
  • Reconcile the problems in the Federal District and Sinaloa
  • Since firearm accidents went from 6 in 2006 to a 100 in 2007 and again to 6 in 2008 I reclassified all firearm accidents in Baja California in 2007.
  • I added the mass grave in Taxco and the one in San Fernando since they don’t appear or are incomplete in the dataset from the INEGI.

Here are the results from in terms of sensitivity and specificity from the classification:

Even with the corrections I made there are still some errors left in the database, hopefully in the future I’ll figure out how to fix them.

Visit the map on facebook:

P.S. You can download the source from GitHub
P.P.S You can also download the program to clean the mortality database
P.P.P.S If all you need is the data you can download it from the datasets section of my website

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Disclaimer: This website is not affiliated with any of the organizations or institutions to which Diego Valle-Jones belongs. All opinions are my own.

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