In the middle of the pandemic, homicides mount in in 18 states, with more than 6,000 killings
Despite the lockdown, in March and April of this year almost 340 more people were killed than during the same period in 2019. The hot zones: Guanajuato among states, and Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez among cities
By Arturo Angel, 5/21/20
A gunfight inside a bar that cost seven lives; an attack on a business with high-powered weapons and grenades that killed four; killings of police, of the former head killer of a powerful cartel and thousands of people in alleged fights, and robbery attempts, among others.
The coronavirus pandemic has not slowed violence in Mexico. On the contrary: In March and April of this years – the first two months of the public health emergency – 6,098 people were killed, 338 more than during the same period last year. Killings increased in 18 of the 32 states despite lockdowns.
Guanajuato leads all states in murders. But 30 cities throughout the country account for one of every three homicides of men and women reported during the health crisis. In 17 of these cities, violence has increased by as much as 100 percent.
…The biggest increases were seen in the state of Campeche, where the number of homicide victims increased by 100 percent; in Michoacán, 83.5 percent, Zacatecas, 46 percent; Hidalgo, 37 percent; and Durango, 30.8 percent.
Of most concern are the increases in Guanajuato, Chihuahua and Baja California, because they are among the four states with the biggest numbers of reporting killings during the pandemic. The fourth is the state of México, which registered a slight uptick of 2.8 percent in homicides.
The other states suffering an increase in violence are: Sonora, Yucatán, San Luis Potosí, Guerrero, Querétaro, Oaxaca, Colima, and Morelos.
…Thirty cities reported a total 1,992 homicides in March and April, nearly one-third of all the killings reported in Mexico in the first two months of the pandemic. In 17 of these cities, the numbers of murders increased by comparison with last year.
Five of these cities saw increases of more than 100 percent: Ensenada, Baja California, showed an increase of 195 percent during the pandemic; Uruapan, Michoacán, 182.4 percent; Cajeme, Sonora, 146.4 percent; Celaya, Guanajuato, 136.7 percent; and Morelia, Michoacán, 109 percent…
…Why does the violence continue despite the pandemic and stay-at-home measures? Why doesn’t it at least decrease?
Security expert Alejandro Hope said there may be several reasons. A leading one is that much of the violence is tied to organized crime, which continues despite whatever slowdown of civilian life may be underway.
Notably, according to official estimates, at least six of every 10 murders are allegedly connected to organized crime. But in states such as Guanajuato and Jalisco, that rate runs higher than 80 percent.
“It’s also the case that there are homicides that happen at home, or that are more a matter of domestic violence,” the expert added. “Confinement doesn’t lower the number of those killings – it’s the opposite.”