Recently, an often-shared tweet claimed:

With Mexico being one of the highest crime Nations in the world, we must have THE WALL. Mexico will pay for it through reimbursement/other.

I have a bit of doubt about this, as I was only able to find this crime index, which puts Mexico well in the center, not too far apart from the US:

1   Venezuela   82.42   
32  Mexico  50.64 
44  United States   48.50   
110     Singapore   16.90   

However, I am not sure how credible these numbers are, and I was unable to find further information about general crime rates (most statistics seem to focus on a specific sort of crime).

Are there any statistics that show that Mexico has one of the highest crime rates in the world?

  • Maybe the reference is to this ... i.stack.imgur.com/wDzvK.jpg I cannot check IISS, since it requires a subscription
    – GEdgar
    Aug 28, 2017 at 17:06
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    Depends. What counts as a crime? (arson?, murder?, jaywalking?) How do you measure the "height" of a crime? (number of incidents reported? number of persons convicted? number of victims affected? monetary value of property stolen or destroyed?) And finally, how high must a nation be ranked to be counted as "one of the highest?" Aug 28, 2017 at 17:12
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    It's hard to compare real crime rates from different countries. Not all countries report in the same way, if they report at all.
    – user11643
    Aug 28, 2017 at 19:33
  • theguardian.com/world/2015/may/06/… has a nice map Nov 30, 2017 at 12:33

1 Answer 1


For overall crime, Mexico does not have the highest crime rate. For intentional homicide rate specifically, which may be what the claim is most concerned about, Mexico is number 23, according to UNODC data. The migration push to the relative safety of the USA is not only coming from Mexico though, but also from other countries in Central America, with much higher homicide rates. In fact, the numbers 1 and 2 are just “behind” Mexico from a US perspective, and undocumented migrants from those Central American countries will enter through Mexico.

Some Central American countries with very high homicide rates (overall ranking by homicides per 100,000 inhabitats; also showing Mexico for comparison and because it's the transit country):

1. El Salvador, 108.64
2. Honduras, 63.75
7. Belize, 34.40
10. Guatamala, 31.21
23. Mexico, 16.35

Those homicide rates are in fact one of the main causes of the push for migration, which is in turn increased by mass deportations.

So, yes, violent crime in Mexico is very high, but overall not as high as in El Salvador or Honduras. The OP probably does not mean to imply that a wall or deportations will reduce those crime rates, and it may in fact do the opposite. Whether a wall or deportations would have any effect on crime rates, either inside or outside the USA, is interesting and relevant but beyond the scope of this question.

  • 10
    Nice point about Central America; it's a popular trope that the average U.S. citizen thinks that anybody south of the border is Mexican. Aug 28, 2017 at 10:12
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    @tim Reducing the crime rates in Mexico and Central America would be essential to bring down migration, but I agree that this is probably not the message Trump is trying to convey; I'm aware he intends to imply that people won't enter if you build a wall, which probably doesn't work, but that is beyond the scope of this question.
    – gerrit
    Aug 28, 2017 at 10:28
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    @T.E.D. So.. a wall across the Bering strait? Aug 28, 2017 at 16:04
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    "...the implicit claim that a wall or deportations will reduce those crime rates...." — This is a peculiar interpretation and not at all implicit in the tweet. This is your inference; it is not implied whatsoever. Hence it appears to be a "strawman" you are setting up to debunk.
    – Wildcard
    Aug 29, 2017 at 0:45
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    @jamesqf From context I assume that by "here" you mean USA. For the large wave of unaccompanied minors some years ago, yes, crime rate in Central America is a major push factor. For broader undocumented migration to the USA, I don't know, good question (but out of scope here).
    – gerrit
    Aug 29, 2017 at 18:29

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