Of Mexico’s 30 most violent municipalities in the first four months of 2018, homicides committed with firearms increased by more than 100% in nine of them, according to statistics from the National Public Security System (SNSP).
Tepic, Nayarit — where there were 59 gun-related homicides between January 1 and the end of April — experienced the largest spike with a 555% increase.
In the same four-month period last year, there were just nine such murders in the state capital.
Violent crime, including clashes between opposing drug cartels, has surged in Nayarit since the arrest of former state attorney general Édgar Veytia in San Diego, California, in March 2017 for alleged links to organized crime.
There was a total of 92 intentional homicides committed with firearms in the small Pacific coast state in the first four months of this year compared to 19 in the same period of 2017.
After Tepic, two municipalities in Guanajuato — Irapuato and Salamanca — recorded the second and third largest increases respectively.
In the former, which is known as Mexico’s strawberry capital, there were 78 homicides committed with firearms to the end of April, or 387% more than the 16 cases reported in 2017.
In Salamanca, where six traffic police were shot dead earlier this month, there were 55 gun-related murders, 358% more than the 12 cases recorded between January 1 and April 30 last year.
More than 1,000 people were murdered in Guanajuato in the first four months of 2018, making the central Mexican state the most violent in the country so far this year.
High levels of violence continued in May with a further 256 homicides in the state, according to a count by the newspaper Milenio.
A high percentage of the cases are believed to be linked to pipeline petroleum theft, with competing gangs of thieves known as huachicoleros fighting each other for control of the lucrative illegal fuel trade.
After 59 people were murdered during a five-day period last month, state Attorney General Carlos Zamarripa said that 85% of the homicides were related to “in one way or another” to petroleum theft.
Homicides in the municipality of Benito Juárez, Quintana Roo — which includes the resort city of Cancún — rose by 300% to 88, while San Pedro Tlaquepaque, located in the metropolitan area of Guadalajara, recorded the fifth highest increase, with a 272% upsurge.
The other four municipalities where the gun-related homicide rate more than doubled in the four month period are Silao, Guanajuato, by 241%; Reynosa, Tamaulipas, by 200%; Celaya, Guanajuato, by 127% and Guadalajara, Jalisco, by 117%.
The tenth municipality on the list is Tijuana, Baja California, where the number of homicides committed with firearms rose by a less dramatic 73%.
However, of the 15 municipalities that experienced the biggest spikes, the northern border city recorded the highest raw number of homicides from January to April with 510.
The figure is five times higher than the 102 recorded in Guadalajara, which recorded the second highest raw number.
In per-capita terms, SNSP data released last month showed that Tecomán, Colima, was the most dangerous municipality in the country followed by Zihuatanejo, Guerrero and Taxco in the same state.
Source: Milenio (sp)