Mexico's homicide rate broke its own record as it jumped by 16 percent during the first half of of 2018. A total of 15,973 murders were counted by the country's interior department compared to 13,751 killings during the same period last year.
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The number is the highest since comparable records began being kept in 1997, including the peak year of 2011 during Mexico’s drug war, according to The Guardian.
The current homicide rate, 22 per 100,000 residents, has placed Mexico nearer to the elevated homicide rates of Colombia and Brazil, which record 27 homicides per 100,000 residents.
“The figures are horrible, but there are some signs that are halfway encouraging,” said security analyst Alejandro Hope. Compared to the second half of 2017, murders had risen by four percent.
While Hope noted that “the curve may be flattening out,” in respect to the homicide rate, he cautioned that more data was needed to confirm the trend.
While some regions saw sharp declines in the murder rate, the norther border state of Baja California saw sharp rises. A total of 1,463 homicides were counted in the state during the first half of 2018. The amount meant a 44 percent increase from the previous period last year.
Authorities blamed the spike on battles waged between the Sinaloa and Jalisoc cartels in efforts to control drug trafficking routes to the United States via the state of Baja California.
The state has become Mexico's second most violent, with a homicide rate for the first six months of the year equivalent to 71 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, according to The Guardian.
Meanwhile, Colima is Mexico's murder capital, with a homicide rate reaching 80 people per 100,00 residents. It has seen a 27 per cent jump in number of killings.
However, Hope pointed out that roughly half of Mexico's 32 states and the capital did not see significant rises in their murder rates. “Now the growth is being concentrated” in specific areas.