Last month was the least violent February of the past five years, with total homicides down 14% from the same month last year.
Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodríguez presented data Thursday that showed there were 2,260 homicides in February for a daily average of 81.
There was an average of 94 homicides per day in February 2021, 96 in the same month of 2020, 101 in February 2019 and 87 in the second month of 2018.
Speaking at President López Obrador’s regular news conference, Rodríguez claimed that homicides decreased 26.4% in the last nine months, but data she displayed didn’t support that assertion.
“Here I want to pause, Mr. President, to tell the people of Mexico and to tell the media that we have a sustained downward trend in the last nine months in which intentional homicides decreased 26.4%,” she said.
The graphic she was displaying showed that the 26.4% decline in fact referred to the difference in the number of homicides between last month and July 2018, when a record high of 3,074 murders was reported.
The data presented by the security minister showed that there were 23,725 homicides in the last nine months, a period that ran from June 2021 to February 2022.
There were 25,351 homicides in the same nine-month period of 2020 and 2021, meaning that the decline in homicides in the last nine months was a much more modest 6.4%.
Nevertheless, Rodríguez used her false claim to support her argument that “the national security strategy is working,” even though homicide levels remain at near record highs.
“It’s the correct one,” she said, referring to the government’s strategy, which is often referred to as “hugs, not bullets” due to the precedence it gives to addressing the root causes of violence over combating it with force. “In this way the country is being pacified,” Rodríguez said.
As has become routine, the security minister noted that half of all homicides are concentrated in just six states. She presented data that showed there were 2,326 homicides in Michoacán, Guanajuato, Baja California, México state, Jalisco and Chihuahua in the first two months of the year, a figure that equates to 49.5% of the 4,697 murders recorded this year.
Michoacán, where the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Cárteles Unidos are engaged in a bloody turf war, recorded 484 homicides in January and February; Guanajuato, Mexico’s most violent state in recent years, registered 477; and Baja California, where the country’s most violent city – Tijuana – is located, saw 388.
Baja California Sur, plagued by violent crime as recently as the second half of the last decade, recorded just seven homicides in the first two months of the year, while Yucatán registered nine and Aguascalientes saw 10.
Mexico News Daily