Decades of violence in Mexico left over 100,000 missing and recently driven efforts to restructure the country's security forces.

Police officers secure an area as part of search for Debanhi Escobar, an 18-year-old law student who has been missing since April 9, in Escobedo, Mexico April 20, 2022.
Police officers secure an area as part of search for Debanhi Escobar, an 18-year-old law student who has been missing since April 9, in Escobedo, Mexico April 20, 2022. (Reuters)

An average of 17 atrocities were reported in news outlets in Mexico each day during the first six months of 2022, up 18 percent from the same period last year, according to a report by non-governmental organisation Causa en Comun.

In Mexico, where some newspapers and TV are dedicated to "nota roja" crime reporting, decades of violence has left over 100,000 missing and recently driven efforts to restructure the country's security forces.

The NGO, which defined atrocities as the intentional use of force to severely abuse, maim, kill or provoke terror, counted 5,463 victims from 3,123 events reported in 2,657 news articles.

"This work points to an accumulation of stories that present a mosaic of pain and cruelty, hidden behind crime statistics," the organisation said in a statement.

"The purpose of our study is to rescue our capacity to be moved by the accumulation of horrors."

Though the study was not exhaustive, it underlined the severity and number of atrocities recorded every day in Mexico.

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Reports of torture doubled

In the first half of 2022, the study found the number of reports of torture doubled to 856, while those of murdering women using "extreme cruelty" rose 87 percent to 410.

Media reports of "high-impact" violence by criminal groups against authorities or large crowds meanwhile rose 756 percent, from 25 to 214.

Although the problem of organised crime dominates public debate, the study noted that a large part of the violence was perpetrated by individuals, families and communities.

Beyond police work, the problem of violence requires sociological and specialised psychological work on a national scale, it said.

The group published its report the same day as Mexico's lower house of Congress debated a controversial bill to bring the civilian-led national guard under army control, which critics say would militarise law and order.

Reports of violence increased in every state in Mexico, but were concentrated in the Pacific coastal state Baja California, where they nearly tripled, as well as in the central states of Guanajuato and Michoacan.

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Source: Reuters