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A robbery in progress A robbery in progress aboard a public transit vehicle in México state.

Although homicides down, citizens group says public safety worsened in 2021

It was one of the most violent years on record, says crime watch group

Homicides declined slightly but Mexico’s overall public security situation worsened last year, according to the head of a national crime watch group.

National Citizens Observatory (ONC) president Francisco Rivas asserted Monday that an increase in the incidence of many crimes in 2021 compared to the previous year was indicative of a deteriorating security situation.

Among the crimes that increased were extortion, femicides, rape, street muggings, domestic violence and robberies of public transit passengers and drivers of private vehicles.

Although homicides declined 3.6%, 2021 was one of the most violent years on record, Rivas noted during a virtual press conference.

“It’s not a reduction that should lead us to think that we’re a lot better off – 2021 was the fourth worst year for homicides, only slightly below 2018. … The four worst years for violence ever are 2019, in first place, followed by 2020, 2018 and … 2021,” he said.

There were more than 33,000 homicides in each of those years.

The ONC chief pointed out that street muggings and robberies of public transit passengers and private motorists both increased last year as people left their homes more due to the easing of coronavirus restrictions that were in place for much of 2020.

The former crime increased 9.3% to almost 74,500 reported incidents while the latter rose 12.6% to just under 31,300 cases.

Rivas noted that there was an average of 695 reported cases of domestic violence per day last year – a 15% increase compared to 2020, and an average of 58 rapes – a 29% jump.

“Domestic violence is out of control and it’s the result of decisions to close shelters for women who have been assaulted, of weakening investigations in this area, of taking resources from specialized prosecutor’s offices,” he said.

Rivas charged that the federal government doesn’t doesn’t have a well-defined strategy to combat crime, reduce violence and improve Mexico’s overall security situation, and asserted that shortcoming has allowed many crimes to flourish.

“[Last year was] the year with the highest number of femicide victims [1,004], with the most investigations for human trafficking, drug dealing, domestic violence, incidents of willful injury and the fourth worst year for homicides,” he said.

With reports from Reforma 

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