Sonora’s rising homicide numbers are due to a 40% deficit in police numbers, according to National Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval.
Intentional homicides in the first seven months totaled 537, up nearly 50% over the same period last year, according to federal crime statistics.
The highest murder numbers are being seen in the capital, Hermosillo, and the municipality of Cajeme, Sandoval said. The former accounts for nearly 23% of all murders. By the end of August, there were a total of 159, 37 of those in that month alone.
Sandoval said that elements of organized crime have been detected in the state’s many police forces, and that the government will initiate a purge campaign in Hermosillo, Cajeme, Guaymas, Empalme and Navojoa to rid the forces of corruption.
“Military personnel will head [the operation], which will help with the purging process, and it begins today in Guaymas and Palme,” he said on Monday.
Currently deployed in the state are 4,323 soldiers, 568 marines, 1,186 National Guardsmen, 706 Federal Police, 1,173 state police and 3,973 municipal police. Sandoval plans to have 1,800 National Guard personnel stationed in eight coordinated regions in the state by the end of the year.
President López Obrador held his morning press conference in Sonora on Monday, during which he said the military will reinforce the work of Sonoran police forces in order to ensure public security.
“There are four municipalities where there is already an agreement that the armed forces help with public security in order to reinforce municipal police forces, such as Guaymas, Cajeme and Navojoa . . .” he said without naming the fourth.