— Jose Gonzalez

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how safe is mexico

A couple of days ago the web page how safe is mexico went viral on Facebook, there were posts from all my Mexican friends vouching for this link and the analysis presented.  I definitely commend them on a job well done  structuring a lot of data in one place and proving good comparisons regarding the size of the country. However, their analysis tells an incomplete story as it, by and large, only focuses on homicides.

While the country has a relatively low homicide rate in some areas, this does not automatically equate to a low crime rate, many other types of crime are still prevalent in those same areas.  Mexico’s crimes and crime rates vary a lot from one municipality to the other, even within bordering municipalities. Thus we are talking about many Mexicos and not about a single one.

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Poverty and crime in Mexico

How safe is Mexico? That is a frequent question people ask me. There is even a  website about it  (see this blog post). So I’ve decided it was time to go one step further and make an interactive map (click here for full screen) of poverty and crime in Mexico.

The objective was to see which municipalities have higher crime rates and visually check if municipalities with higher crime rates also have high poverty rates. While unfortunately,  the most recent poverty data at the municipality level is for 2010 while the crime data, at the same level, is only available for 2011, 2012, 2013, I was still able to glean some interesting insights.

The interactive map´s main take away is that high rates of selected crimes are concentrated in just a few municipalities. Moreover, there appears to be no direct link to high poverty rates.

To do the analysis I used R, QGIS and TileMill, all that code is freely available in my github account. If you are interested in learning more about how I made the map, keep reading!

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