Homicide scene: July numbers were down. Homicide scene: July numbers were down.

Homicides decline, train robberies soar

Intentional homicides declined 9% in July

After two months of record highs, homicides figures declined in July.

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The National Public Security System (SNSP) reports 2,029 cases of intentional homicide during the month, down 9.3% on June numbers when 2,234 homicides were recorded.

The figures bring the 2017 total to 14,190 intentional homicides.

Guerrero heads the list for July with 191 followed by Baja California with 173, the state of México with 148, Veracruz with 141 and Sinaloa with 123.

Despite the reduction recorded last month, the president of the watchdog group Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano said statistics show that 2017 is still likely to match or even exceed 2011, a year regarded as the worst in the country’s history.

“In the case of intentional homicide 2017 could end with a rate equivalent to or greater than 2011,” said Francisco Riva.

The federal government acknowledged yesterday that the firearm-related death rate has risen by 400% over the last 20 years and 12% in the last five.

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At a government forum held yesterday to analyze the new criminal justice system, both the Interior Secretariat (Segob) and the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR) refuted claims by state governors that its implementation had led to a rise in crime.

However, they have asked Congress to widen the catalog of crimes that merit automatic preventative prison to include firearms offenses and gasoline theft. Last month National Security Commissioner Renato Sales said the system had descended into a “procedural hell” and led to a rise in crime.

But SNSP chief Álvaro Vizcaíno defended the system, saying it works and that any weaknesses were due to states failing to adequately implement it.

Vizcaíno cited a reduction in crime figures not only in intentional homicides but also in kidnappings, extortion and theft as evidence that they were on the right track. Overall crime levels for July were down 6.6% on June figures.

“. . . In July, we had 10,510 fewer crimes than in June,” he said.

He rejected the charge that the new system was responsible for a rise in crime due to a so-called revolving door although he also called on lawmakers to legislate for stricter preventative detention measures in firearms-related cases.

Senators from all the major parties said that there might be adjustments to the system but dismissed any suggestion that it could be drastically overhauled, saying that would be a backward step.

Although the SNSP said kidnappings declined by 14.7% in July compared to June, from 136 to 116, a non-governmental organization whose focus is kidnapping claims otherwise. Alto al Secuestro (Stop Kidnapping) reported there 145 in July, up one from June.

Another crime saw a massive increase during the second quarter of the year. Train robbery soared from 125 cases from April to June of 2016 to 331 this year.

The agency responsible for train transportation said 217 cases were robberies of goods from trains — principally corn, cement, containers with various merchandise, metal products, vehicles and others — while the others were thefts of track or signal components.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Universal (sp)

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