Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Murders of women in Mexico spiked in May, the most violent month of the year so far

May was the worst month so far this year for murders of women in Mexico, with well over 300 victims, according to official data.

The federal government published a report on Tuesday that showed that 335 women and girls were murdered across the country last month.

Of that number, 255 were classified as victims of homicide, and 80 were classified as victims of femicide, meaning that their gender was a motivating factor in their murders.

Femicide numbers increased 31% in May compared to April, when 61 females were killed on account of their gender.

Intentional homicides of women, as the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP) calls the crime, increased 14% in May compared to April.

SESNSP data shows there were 331 femicides in the first five months of 2024, a 7% decline compared to the same period of last year. In 2023, there were 831 femicides.

Peace march for victims of femicide
Friends and family hold a peace march in honor of a woman whose body was found along the Autopista del Sol in December last year. (Cuartoscuro)

In the first five months of the year, there were 1,094 homicides of women, a 0.7% increase compared to the same period of 2023. A total of 2,580 homicides of women were registered last year.

Combining the number of female victims of both homicide and femicide, a total of 1,425 women were killed in the first five months of 2024. On average, 65 women were killed every week between January and May.

Data shows that Nuevo León recorded the highest number of femicides among Mexico’s 32 federal entities in the first five months of the year.

There were 33 femicides in the northern state between January and May; 28 in México state; 24 in each of Mexico City and Veracruz; and 23 in Morelos.

Nuevo León is the state with the most femicides recorded so far this year, followed by México state. (SSPC)

In Ciudad Juárez, a border city in Chihuahua that became notorious for femicides in recent decades, 11 women were killed on account of their gender in the first five months of the year, more than in any other municipality.

Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo León, recorded the second highest number of femicides among Mexico’s almost 2,500 municipalities, with six between January and May.

On a per capita basis, the state of Morelos recorded the highest number of femicides in the first five months of the year with 2.18 per 100,000 women.

Regarding homicides of women, Guanajuato — Mexico’s most violent state in recent years in terms of total murders — recorded the highest number, with 148 between January and May.

Baja California ranked second with 123, followed by México state, 95; Jalisco, 72; Chihuahua, 71; and Guerrero, 71.

Colima, a small Pacific coast state, had the highest per capita rate of homicides of women in the first five months of the year, with 12.99 per 100,000 women.

Apart from homicides and femicides, women and girls were victims of a wide range of other crimes in Mexico between January and May, including physical assault, kidnapping and human trafficking.

Security minister: 12 candidates killed during electoral period

Federal Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodríguez said Tuesday that 12 “officially registered candidates” were murdered during the electoral period leading up to the June 2 federal, state and municipal elections.

“During the [electoral] process we’ve just gone through, … in which more than 70,000 candidates participated, attacks were focused on local candidates,” she told President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s morning press conference.

Rosa Icela Rodríguez at a press conference
Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodríguez speaks at one of the president’s morning press conference earlier this month. (Rosa Icela Rodríguez/X)

The majority of candidates killed during the 2023-24 electoral cycle aspired to become municipal mayors.

Non-governmental organizations counted at least 34 murders of candidates and people who aspired to run for public office, whereas Rodríguez was only referring to individuals who had formalized their candidacies with electoral authorities.

The security minister asserted Tuesday that “groups opposed to the current regime” sought to “create alarm and the mistaken idea that Mexico went through its most violent electoral period in recent history.”

“But this is not the case, these are campaigns aimed at discrediting the government,” Rodríguez said.

“… There were no homicides of contenders for federal positions or governorships, as regrettably occurred during other administrations. It should be made clear that all lives are important and homicides of politicians are reprehensible,” she added.

Rodríguez also said that the recent electoral process was closely “monitored” by the armed forces and the National Guard.

Gisela Gaytán at a campaign event
One of the candidates murdered this year was Gisela Gaytán, who was shot on her first day of campaigning as Morena’s mayoral candidate in Celaya. (Gisela Gaytán/Facebook)

She said that 645 requests for protection were received from candidates, and that 595 of that number were “attended to.”

Fifty candidates subsequently declined the government protection they were offered, Rodríguez said.

May was the most violent month so far this year

Rodríguez presented data earlier in June that showed there were 2,657 homicides in May, the highest number of any month so far this year.

National Guard members in a patrol car in Acapulco
Official data show May had the most homicides of any month so far this year in Mexico. (Cuartoscuro)

A total of 12,435 homicides were recorded in the first five months of 2024 for an average of 82 murders per day. The daily murder rate increased by 1 compared to all of 2023, but it is down from 91 in 2022 and 100 in 2019, the first full year of President López Obrador’s government.

Just under 45% of all homicides in the first five months of this year occurred in just six states, according to the data Rodríguez presented on June 11.

Guanajuato recorded the highest number of homicides between January and May with 1,217, followed by Baja California, 1,036; México state, 1,013; Chihuahua, 845; Jalisco, 753; and Morelos, 731.

Data shows there have been more than 184,000 homicides during López Obrador’s administration, making his six-year term as president the most violent on record.

However — as Security Minister Rodríguez frequently highlights — murder numbers have trended down during the term of the current government, whereas they increased during the administrations of Mexico’s three most recent ex-presidents.

With reports from El UniversalEl Economista and Forbes México


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