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Mexico - H1 2022 Security Update
2022 is on pace to be the least violent year of AMLO’s term, but homicides are still far higher than six years ago.
Last week, the official crime data published by the Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública (SESNSP) through June of this year were released. In total, there were 12,952 homicides in the first 6 months of this year, compared to 14,383 homicides in the same period in 2021 (a 10 percent decline year on year).
The states with the biggest drop in homicides relative to 2021 are Tabasco (-36 percent), Mexico City (-32.5 percent), Chihuahua (-27.7 percent), Veracruz (-25.4 percent), and Baja California Sur (-25 percent). The states with the biggest increase in homicides relative to 2021 are Colima (+51.2 percent), Hidalgo (+37.5 percent), Nuevo León (+25.7 percent), Puebla (+23 percent), and Tlaxcala (+17 percent).
In terms of total incidents, the most violent states in the first half of this year were Guanajuato (1259 homicides), Baja California (1173 homicides), Michoacán (1135 homicides), Estado de México (1106 homicides), and Jalisco (776 homicides). The states with the most homicides in terms of population were Colima (104.2 per 100,000), Baja California (62.2 per 100,000), Zacatecas (57.8 per 100,000), Morelos (51.2 per 100,000) and Michoacán (47.8 per 100,000). (It’s worth noting that these rates are doubled to provide an annualized estimate of the homicide rate.)
While Colima has long been one of Mexico’s most violent states, the situation in the state considerably deteriorated this year when a local gang, Los Mezcales, switched its allegiance from the CJNG to the Sinaloa Cartel. The Port of Manzanillo, located in Colima, is a coveted asset for drug trafficking, which generates high stakes competition between different criminal organizations in the state. The goods that pass through the port are also valuable for criminal groups. In June, an armed group successfully stole 20 shipping containers containing valuable metals and electronics from the port, reportedly without exchanging any gunfire with guards.
Fuel theft is also driving increased violence in some states. Notably, Puebla, Hidalgo, and Tlaxcala are experiencing higher rates of violence as a result of a shifting fuel theft landscape and overall high rates of illegal drilling. Thieves are increasingly targeting liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The president of the Mexican Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Distributors, Carlos Serrano Farrera, reported in March that reported incidents of LPG theft have risen 1000 percent since 2018.
Even with the double-digit drop between the first half of last year and the first half of this year, López Obrador continues to preside over an exceptionally violent Mexico. The security situation in López Obrador’s fourth year (2022) is remarkably worse than the security situation in his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto’s, fourth year (2016). 22 of Mexico’s 32 states have higher incidences of homicides than they did six years ago, with ten states suffering an increase of more than 100 percent.