Homicide numbers decreased slightly in April compared to March but remain at alarmingly high levels despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the president’s press conference on Wednesday morning, Security Minister Alfonso Durazo told reporters that statistics from the National Public Security System show that there were 2,950 homicides last month, a 1.66% decrease compared to the 3,000 murders in March, the most violent month since the federal government took office in December 2018.
Although the homicide numbers barely budged between March and April, Durazo said that “the important thing” is that the upward trend didn’t continue.
“We managed once again to reverse the trend of growth … even though the numbers are [still] high,” he said.
However, there is little to celebrate considering that the slight reduction in homicides in April occurred in the first full month of the national social distancing initiative, during which the authorities are urging people to stay at home as much as possible.
Guanajuato remains the most violent state in the country, having recorded 1,534 homicides in the first four months of the year, followed by México state (982); Chihuahua (906); Michoacán (886); Baja California (880); and Jalisco (700).
Baja California Sur, plagued by high levels of violent crime as recently as 2017, is now the most peaceful state in the country based on homicide numbers between January and April. Just 15 homicides were reported in the state in the first four months of the year, one fewer than Yucatán.
Campeche, Aguascalientes and Tlaxacala were the next most peaceful states, with 26, 28 and 45 homicides, respectively.
Durazo also reported that femicides – women and girls who were killed on account of their gender – decreased to 70 in April from 78 in March, a 10.25% reduction. Compared to December 2018 – the month President López Obrador took office – femicides decreased 30% in April, he said.
The security minister said that federal crimes, including drug trafficking, fuel theft and firearms offenses, declined by about a third last month compared to March. He also said that vehicle theft fell 20%, muggings declined 24%, robberies on public transit decreased by 44%, burglaries dropped by 18% and business robberies were down 20%.
For his part, army chief Luis Cresencio Sandoval said that just over 150,000 members of the military and the National Guard are deployed around the country to carry out public security tasks.
López Obrador published a decree last week ordering the armed forces to continue carrying out such tasks for another four years, asserting that the discipline and professionalism of the army and navy are needed to combat the insecurity that has continued to plague the country in the first one and a half years of his six-year term.