The Trans-Border Institute at the Univesity of San Diego has released its third annual report on the drug war in Mexico, noting that there were 50,000 organized crime murders in Mexico from 2006 through 2011.
"On average, for every day of 2011, 47 people were killed, three of whom were tortured, one of whom was decapitated, two of whom were women, and ten of whom were young people whose lives were cut short by violence."
Reporters, authorities, women and children are now frequently targeted by the cartels.
"A growing number of law enforcement personnel, officials, journalists, women, and children joined the ranks of Mexico’s dead in 2011, and many victims of violence were subject to horrifying acts of torture and mutilation.
The report says legalization of medical marijuana is only a "half-measure," and calls for "more serious consideration of alternatives to current drug policy."
The authors blast Mexican authorities for their handling of corruption cases, including last year's allegations against ex-Tijuana mayor and Xolos soccer team owner Jorge Hank Rhon, saying, "there is a need for greater prosecutorial effectiveness in Mexico."
"Indeed, in recent years, while federal authorities have made major arrests, prosecutions have lagged or experienced humiliating reversals in cases where organized crime involvement was strongly suspected.
"Examples include the case of dozens of state and local authorities arrested for corruption in Michoacán in 2009 —known as the “Michoacánazo”— and the 2011 case of former Tijuana mayor Jorge Hank Rhon, who was acquitted on charges of illegal gun possession due to insufficient investigation and improper evidence gathering."
Though drug-related crime in Mexico grew less sharply last year, according to the document, it "now causes over half of all homicides," in the country, and the violence is expanding into new regions.
"Mexican border cities accounted for 29.5% of such homicides in 2010, but only 17% in 2011.
"However, falling violence in the border states of Baja California and Chihuahua was partly offset by increases in Coahuila, Nuevo Laredo, and Tamaulipas. Southern states receiving more violence included Veracruz and Guerrero."
The report, titled "Drug Violence in Mexico, Data and Analysis through 2011," was authored by Cory Molzahn, Viridiana Ríos, and David A. Shirk.