Mexico has recorded its most violent first quarter in recent history: there were 7,242 homicide cases reported between January and March, an increase of almost 10% compared to the same period last year.
The National Public Security System (SNSP) said there were 8,493 victims, up 9.6% over last year.
In March, 2,410 new homicide cases were reported, a figure that equates to 77 cases a day or more than three per hour. There were 2,455 murder cases in January and 2,377 in February.
The figures for the first three months of the year represent increases of 13%, 15% and 1.9% respectively compared to January, February and March of 2018.
The SNSP data contradicts claims by President López Obrador that his government has “controlled” violence since taking office last December.
Guanajuato – where the Santa Rosa de Lima fuel theft cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) are involved in a vicious turf war – continues to be the most violent state in the country, with 947 murders reported in the first quarter of 2019.
México state was next, with 769 homicides, followed by Jalisco, Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero and Michoacán.
Colima recorded the highest per-capita murder rate, with 7.5 homicides per 100,000 residents followed by Guanajuato, Chihuahua and Baja California, all of which registered a rate of 5.2.
The number of femicide cases reported increased by 15% to 227, while kidnappings and extortion surged by 59% and 51% respectively.
At his morning press conference today, López Obrador predicted that insecurity will decrease in six months because by then the government will have implemented all of its proposed social programs and created the National Guard.
“I believe that all of the programs will be operating in six months, that’s the most important thing. The other action, don’t forget, is that the National Guard will be established . . .” he said.
Speaking in the port city of Veracruz, the president said he deeply regretted the deaths of 14 people who were shot dead in Minatitlán on Friday night and pledged that his government will “guarantee peace” in the state.
López Obrador will today chair a meeting to discuss and coordinate security strategies in the Gulf coast state, which has seen an increase in cartel violence since Governor Cuitláhuac García took office on December 1.