Nearly 7,667 people have been killed in Mexico so far in 2018, according to the government figures, a 20 percent rise from 6,406 violent deaths reported in the first quarter last year, making this the most violent year in nearly two decades.
In March alone, 2,729 people were killed, most of them shot dead, while in January nearly 2,549 people were murdered, and 2,389 died in February.
The staggering rise in violence has been attributed to a range of issues, including rising in gang violence, stealing of fuel, kidnappings, extortion and other criminal activities.
The leading leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador linked the violence in the country to Mexico being a "poverty factory."
This type of "violence has skyrocketed because the economy hasn’t grown in 30 years. Mexico is a poverty factory," Lopez Obrador said during the first of presidential debates among presidential hopefuls Sunday night, adding, that government corruption was one of Mexico's biggest issues, not organized crime.
The three-time candidate and former Mexico City mayor said the government corruption cost the state "500 billion pesos (over $US27 billion) per year."
Obrador, who is well ahead in the polls with 48 percent voter support, says politicians are working for organized crime leaders, not the people, and further vowing "my government will be a peaceful revolution, and government that represents everyone. I won't be at the service of the minority. Viva Mexico."
Obrador also placed the blame on President Enrique Peña Nieto's government for its inadequacy in tackling rampant violence, and arguing that "tactics" used by the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI, have been "useless" with nearly 36,000 disappeared cases in Mexico.
Some of the candidates in the debate suggested more violent tactics to deal with violence by further militarizing the Central American country, with Jaime Rodriguez, independent candidate and former PRI member, saying he would fight crime by cutting off the hands of delinquents. "Literally. We should cut off criminals’ hands. I will propose legislation for this," Rodriguez said.