Murders declined 3.5% in April compared to the previous month but violence levels still remain very high.
There were 2,857 homicides and 77 femicides last month for a total of 2,934 victims, according to data presented by Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodríguez at the president’s press conference on Friday.
There was an average of 97.8 murders per day in April compared to 98 in March.
Rodríguez highlighted that homicide numbers for the first four months of the year show a 4% decline compared to the same period of 2020.
“During the current administration, the upward trend for intentional homicides has been contained,” she said.
Still, with 11,277 victims between January and April, Mexico is on track to record more than 30,000 murders for a fifth consecutive year.
Rodríguez said that 50.6% of the homicides in the first four months occurred in just six states. Guanajuato, where criminal groups are fighting each other for control of rackets such as fuel theft and extortion, was the most violent state in the period with 1,263 homicide victims.
Baja California ranked second with 1,063 victims followed by Jalisco (882 victims); Michoacán (861); México state (852); and Chihuahua (792).
The security minister said murders have declined in 10 of 15 highly violent “priority” municipalities where the federal government is implementing localized security strategies and rolling out social programs to try to combat the violence.
The municipalities that recorded a combined 18% reduction in homicides were Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, Celaya, Culiacán, Morelia, Benito Juárez, San Pedro Tlaquepaque, Iztapalapa, Irapuato and Salamanca.
Four of those – Celaya, Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez and Irapuato – were ranked among the five most violent cities in the world in 2020, according to a study by the Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, a Mexican nongovernmental organization.
Rodríguez conceded that the government had failed to stem violence in the other five priority municipalities: León, Cajeme (Ciudad Obregón), Guadalajara, Acapulco and Chihuahua city. They recorded a combined 17% increase in homicides between January and April.
Cases of femicide – the murder of women and girls on account of their gender – decreased 0.3% in the first four months of the year to 319, one fewer than in the same period of 2020. Rodríguez said that cases of kidnapping declined 34.4%.
Although the security minister asserted that the government has contained the high levels of violence, President López Obrador acknowledged that homicide numbers have “dropped very little.”
He also recognized that some cases of crimes such as kidnapping and robbery are not reported to authorities and therefore are not included in official statistics. People sometimes negotiate with kidnappers for the release of their family members without making contact with authorities, López Obrador said.
Boxing champion Canelo Álvarez recently revealed that he had done just that. In an interview broadcast earlier this month, he said that he personally negotiated the successful release of his kidnapped brother in 2018, explaining that he couldn’t ask the police for help because he suspected they were involved in the abduction.
Despite acknowledging that some cases of kidnapping go unreported, López Obrador boasted that the crime has declined 65% since he took office in late 2018.
“I believe this is noteworthy because there was a time in which kidnapping was a crime that caused a lot of damage everywhere,” he said.