The impact of the drug war in Mexico

June 18, 2010

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

For the last couple of years, Mexico has been in the midst of an escalating drug war, with violent crime on the upswing in many areas. But tracking the impact quantitatively is difficult: in Mexico, about 85% of crimes go unreported, and corruption leads to inaccurate reporting in some districts. Diego Valle has taken on the task of visualizing and analyzing the available data with R, and has come up with some startling results. For example, by comparing national with local statistics, Diego has identified a massive underreporting of 1153 murders in the state of Chihuahua:


Diego even employs Benford’s Law to uncover evidence of data falsification. There’s lots more fascinating analysis in Diego’s report, including this choropleth of homicide rate across Mexico:


On a personal note, we’d planned to return to a favorite vacation spot near Zihuatanejo this year. After hearing from locals that the once-tranquil village had been overrun, we cancelled our planned trip. Zihua is near the centre of that hotspot on the south-central coast.

Read Diego’s full post for lots more great analysis. He’s made all of his R code available, too.

Diego Valle’s Blog: Statistical Analysis and Visualization of the Drug War in Mexico

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