Saturday, May 18, 2024

Homicides crept up 6% in March – but last year’s number was worse

March was the most violent month to date in 2022, even as homicides decreased almost 10% compared to the same month of last year.

There were 2,657 homicides reported last month, according to data presented by Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodríguez at President López Obrador’s Wednesday press conference.

That’s a 9.8% decrease compared to March 2021 when there were 2,946 homicides. March’s total is 17.5% higher than that of February, during which 2,261 murders were recorded, but last month had three more days than the previous month.

The average daily murder count in March was 85.7 compared to 80.7 in February, an increase of only 6.2%.

Rodríguez also presented data that showed there were 7,354 homicides in the first three months of 2022 for a daily average of just under 82. It was the lowest total for the January-March period since López Obrador took office in December 2018 and a 12.6% decline compared to the first quarter of 2021.

Many victims of homicide have not been identified, while others are reported as missing until their bodies are found.
Many victims of homicide have not been identified, while others are reported as missing until their bodies are found. File photo

Based on homicide data for the first quarter, Mexico is on track to record approximately 29,500 homicides this year. If murders don’t exceed 30,000, it would be the first time that has happened since López Obrador took office. His first full year as president – 2019 – was the most violent year on record, with over 34,000 homicides.

Rodríguez acknowledged that there were more homicides in March than each of the previous four months, but highlighted that the total was the lowest March tally in the past five years.

“We’re continuing to work with a lot of coordination, intelligence and strategy to deliver precision shots against organized crime,” she said.

About 50% of the homicides committed so far this year occurred in six states: Guanajuato, Michoacán, México state, Baja California, Jalisco and Sonora. Rodríguez reported that five of those six states recorded more homicides in March than in February. Jalisco was the exception, with murders declining to 155 from 163.

In addition to the more than 2,650 homicides last month, there were 73 femicides – murders of women and girls killed on account of their gender. The figure represents a reduction of 28.4% compared to the same month of 2021 and a 34.8% decline compared to last August, when there was a record 112 femicides.

The federal government has accused its predecessors of incorrectly classifying many murders of women as homicides rather than femicides.

The president joined the discussion about the security data at the Wednesday press conference.
The president joined the discussion about the security data at the Wednesday press conference. Presidencia de la República

Rodríguez presented data on a range of other crimes, including kidnappings, which decreased 28.4% to 48 in March compared to 67 in 2021. “It’s the lowest figure for 10 years,” the security minister said.

Rodríguez also reported that over 4,400 people were arrested for kidnapping between July 2019 and March 2022, 477 kidnapping rings were broken up and almost 1,900 victims were freed.

Drug trafficking, home burglaries and domestic violence were among other crimes that decreased in the first three months of the year compared to the same period of 2021. Extortion and federal firearms offenses were among those that increased.

National Guard commander Luis Rodríguez Bucio and Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval also addressed Wednesday’s press conference. The former said that almost 114,000 guardsmen are carrying out public security tasks, while the latter said that nearly 160,000 soldiers are deployed across the country, including more than 28,000 at the southern and northern borders to stem irregular migration into Mexico and the United States.

Before he took office, López Obrador pledged to gradually remove the military from the nation’s streets, but signed a decree in May 2020 that ordered the armed forces to continue carrying out public security tasks for another four years.

With reports from El Financiero and EFE

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