THE MISSING OF FELIPE CALDERON'S PRESIDENTIAL TERM
When using the missing persons database recently published by the Mexican Ministry of the Interior, we know that between 2006 and 2012 a total of 26,567 people disappeared in Mexico. Much more than that, we don't know.
This is due to two reasons: the first is that the database is quite incomplete and the second is that the Federal Government published the data but did not answer any questions regarding it. What makes the database incomplete? There is a lack of information standardization among states, there are too many "non-specified" observations and there are both typing errors and what could possibly be made-up data.
One example is a category called authority. While almost all of Guanajuato's missing persons cases have a file number, the rest of the states either include a local institution of justice, a federal institution or have it as "not specified".
Furthermore, when it comes to age and the date the missing person was reported there are also problems in the data. First of all, the range of age includes people from one to 104 years old. Secondly, some cases have as a date "1800-01-01" and most include for the day of disappearance either the 1st of 15th of every month and 00.00 or 12:00 hours.
What do we know about the missing persons from the database? We come to know sex, age, nationality and patterns both in time and space.
Profile of a missing male
Of the total of people who have disappeared in Mexico, about 60 percent of them are men. Most are Mexicans (60 percent), yet others come from places such as the US (eleven missing), Central America (four missing), Colombia (ten missing), and even from Japan and Eritrea (one missing each).
Only 4.3 percent of the records include a photo of the missing male. Yet in 30 percent of them identifying features are clearly specified. These features include scars (14.8 percent), moustaches (0.6 percent), piercings (0.7 percent) and tattoos (7.9 percent).
The age cohort of most missing men is between 18 and 32 years old (a total of 23.7 percent of missing males). Nonetheless, the range of ages extends from one year old to 102 years old. Furthermore, even though the database was made specifically for Felipe Calderon's term (2006 and 2012), males are reported missing since 1949 to 2012. These early years could be due to a typing error or to made-up data.
Once we only look at the missing males from 2007 to 2012, we are able to discover an interesting time pattern. The number of missing males grew exponentially from 2007 up to 2011 and by 2012 that number fell. This movement in missing persons is quite similar to how the violence in Mexico has moved in those same years. This leads us to think if it is possible to find a relation between homicides and missing persons in Mexico (see next note on the subject).
By numbers, 5.0 percent of males disappeared in 2007, 8.3 percent disappeared in 2008, 13.7 disappeared in 2009, 22.5 percent disappeared in 2010, 31.2 percent disappeared in 2011 and 17.0 percent disappeared in 2012.
Last but not least, there are also certain patterns by month of disappearance. The greatest majority of the men were reported missing in March (9.6 percent), followed by April, June and August. The least of them were reported missing in December, close to 6.5 percent.
Profile of a missing female
Women represent close to 40 percent of the total missing persons in the database. As with the men, most of the females are Mexican (62 percent), yet a few are German (one missing), Bolivian (two missing), Norwegian (one missing) and Guatemalan (three missing)
Once again, we find that only 3.8 percent of the reports include a photo of the missing female to identify her. Nonetheless in some cases identifying features are specified such as scars (10 percent), moles (6.7 percent) and tattoos (2.0 percent)
We must underline that the biggest difference between missing males and missing females is their age cohort. Missing females are much younger than missing males; most of them are between 13 and 19 (40.6 percent) years old. Their age range extends from one year old to 104 years old.
What is impressive about the age differences by sex is that once we look at geographical patterns of missing females (see the next note on this subject) we find that a large percent of them are disappearing in Quintana Roo. Could this have to do with the fact that Quintana Roo has an alarming human trafficking problem? We don't exactly know.
As with the men, the number of missing females also grew tremendously between 2007 and 2011. But by 2012, this number fell considerably.
By numbers, 5.0 percent of women disappeared in 2007, 8.1 percent disappeared in 2008, 15.7 percent disappeared in 2009, 19.4 percent disappeared in 2010, 30 percent disappeared in 2011 and 19.8 percent disappeared in 2012.
The other big difference between missing males and females has to do with the month of their disappearance. Most missing females disappeared in May (9.4 percent), followed by September, March and April. Yet, similar to the men, the month with the least number of disappeared females was December, with 6.7 percent.
On the missing persons database:
Lía Limón, subsecretary of the Office of Judicial and Human Rights Matters of the Mexican Ministry of the Interior, declared on the 26 of February 2013, that Felipe Calderon's government did create a missing persons database, which is now public in the National Public Security System (NPSS), for December 2006 to November 2012.
Although the data has been made public on the NPSS's webpage, we provide you with a link to access it.