Mexico sees slight decrease in murders in 2020

·1-min read
Relatives of the former governor of Mexico's Jalisco state, Aristoteles Sandoval, murdered in Puerto Vallarta in December, walk next to his coffin

Mexico recorded 34,523 murders in 2020 -- a slight decrease compared to 2019 in a country that has been wracked by drug cartel violence, official preliminary figures showed Thursday.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said "progress has been made" but admitted more work still needed to be done.

Security Undersecretary Ricardo Mejia described it as Mexico's first decrease in homicides since 2014.

The figures presented Thursday contain data from state prosecutors as of December 30 and an average was estimated for the last day of the year, said Mejia.

The overall number of murders was a 0.4 percent decrease compared to 2019, according to the statistics from public security authorities.

The homicide rate per 100,000 inhabitants was 27.01, a decrease of 1.3 percent compared to 2019.

Lopez Obrador, who took office two years ago, said violence linked to drug trafficking that has roiled the country for more than a decade remains one of the main concerns of Mexicans.

November was the least violent month since Lopez Obrador took office and it is estimated that December will end with a lower number of homicides.

Since the federal government launched a controversial military anti-drug operation in December 2006, more than 300,000 violent deaths have been recorded in Mexico, according to official figures that attribute most to organized crime activity.

Prior to becoming president, Lopez Obrador criticized the military operation, although as president he pushed for the creation of a National Guard made up of elements of the armed forces.

Opponents and critics of the president say security forces should be made up of civilians to safeguard human rights.

sem/mjs/sst