The number of murders in Mexico last year hit a new record high with more than 35,500 homicides, according to government data, despite President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s pledge to tackle crime and violence in the country in his first year in office.
López Obrador has, in the past, acknowledged that crime and violence are the toughest challenges he faces. But on Jan. 22, he said corruption is the country’s main problem.
A total of 35,588 murders were committed last year, up 2.7 percent from the year previous, according to data released by the national public security system.
It marked the highest murder rate in the country since 1997 when official records began, Al Jazeera reported.
Figures showed, however, that the annual rate of increase in murders has slowed, as in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, homicides grew by yearly rates of 27 percent, 28 percent, and 17 percent, respectively.
The president emphasized how damaging white-collar criminals have been to the country, more so than drug cartels responsible for many of the murders.
“We are giving the almost the same weight to (fighting) white-collar crime as we do to drug cartels,” López Obrador said.
He said that focusing on drug lords like Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, as past administrations did, would be a distraction, as Guzman stole less than corrupt businessmen and politicians.