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Murders in Mexico Surge to Record High

This year has been worse than drug war's peak year
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 23, 2019 12:44 AM CDT
Soldiers from the National Guard, State Police officers of Guerrero and Municipal Police officers of Acapulco guard an area where gunmen killed and wounded multiple people inside a bar in Acapulco, Mexico,...   (AP Photo/Bernardino Hernandez)
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(Newser) – Mexico set a new record for homicides in the first half of the year as the number of murders grew by 5.3% compared to the same period of 2018, fueled partly by cartel and gang violence in several states. Mexico saw 3,080 killings in June, an increase of over 8% from the same month a year ago, according to official figures. The country of almost 125 million now sees as many as 100 killings per day nationwide. The 17,608 killings in the first half of 2019 is the most since comparable records began being kept in 1997, including the peak year of Mexico's drug war in 2011, the AP reports. Officials said 16,714 people were killed in the first half of 2018. In particular, drug cartel turf wars have become increasingly bloody in the northern state of Sonora, where the number of homicides was up by 69% in the first half of the year.

But in Sinaloa, where the cartel of convicted drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is based, homicides declined by 23% so far this year compared to last. Given cutbacks and a widespread reorganization of security forces under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, it is not clear who, if anyone, is doing the analysis and intelligence work to find out exactly which conflicts are causing the rise in homicides. "I could give you 10 potential, plausible reasons, but the truth is we don't know, and that is perhaps the biggest problem," says security analyst Alejandro Hope. "There is very little systematic research that would allow us to conclude what is really happening."

(Read more Mexico stories.)

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