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Challenges and Opportunities for Large Scale Violence Prevention Efforts in Mexico

This paper will contribute to the overall theme of the conference "How to Reduce Violence by 50% in the next 30 years" in two ways: First; based on official mortality information from 1998 – 2012, we present an overview of the epidemiology of homicide and suicide across the country, including time trends, age and gender specific rates, and geographic distribution. Second; based on implementation challenges faced by current violence and delinquency prevention efforts at National, State and Municipal levels, key recommendations for policy-makers are described, regarding key challenges and opportunities for violence and delinquency prevention program design and implementation.

Temporal and geographic trends in officially registered violence related deaths (216,462 homicides and 77,334 suicides) that have occurred between 1998 and 2012 on Mexican territory are presented. A strong increase in homicide has occurred starting in 2007 and in absolute terms, men between 20 and 49 years form the most vulnerable group, with an average homicide rate in 2012 of over 40 per 100,000. Suicide rates have also shown a steady increase over the 15 year period, specifically among females between 12 and 39 years and males between 12 and 49 years of age. Suicide rates in girls of 12 to 15 years old have almost triplicated while for boys in the same age group, the suicide rates have nearly duplicated in the 15 year time period.

Starting in 2013, an unprecedented National Violence and Delinquency Prevention Program has been launched by the current federal government administration, targeting specific municipalities and neighborhoods with highest rates of crime and violence across the country. We discuss the program design and major components, as well as challenges faced by different sectors and levels of government in charge of implementing violence reduction strategies. We reflect about the use of scientific research for informing public policy and program design and discuss opportunities that exist in order to strengthen multi sectoral evidence-based violence prevention in Mexico.