In Sight: Organized Crime in the Americas, March 30, 2012
Doing so may create more incentives among Mexico's criminal groups to reduce violence, in order to avoid being designated as the "most violent" threat to public society, the report argues. If Mexico is able to focus its law enforcement efforts (with US support) against the "most violent" group, this could also weaken the designated group's economic power, if those involved in the group's criminal network seek to distance themselves. The proposal forms part of an impressive compilation of assessments of the current state of criminal enterprises in Mexico by the Center's Mexico Institute.
The report's argument appears to support Mexico's designation of the Zetas as their top security priority, as the Zetas are frequently described as Mexico's most aggressive criminal organization. But as the Mexico Institute points out, this approach also brings several key risks. The first is that the government would have to use some solid criteria for determining which group is truly the "most violent," especially considering that many of Mexico's murders go unsolved, attributing a given amount of violence to a single group brings its difficulties.
The report states that the "most violent" designation should be "clear, publicly announced, and transparent," but it is unclear whether the government can make a strong enough case for singling one group out above the others. In Acapulco alone, there may be as many as 14 different groups fighting for control of the drug market, the report notes, "making it hard to assign blame for the violence to any specific group."