Homicide rate surpasses that from peak year of country’s drug war in 2011, official figures show
Agencies in Mexico City
Mexico recorded more than 29,000 murders in 2017, the highest annual tally in decades, government figures have shown.
The country has struggled with years of violence as the state has battled drug cartels that have increasingly splintered into smaller, more bloodthirsty gangs.
The record 29,168 murders in 2017 is higher than the homicide rate at peak of Mexico’s drug war in 2011, when there were 27,213.
The interior ministry reported the figures on Sunday, which are the highest since comparable records began in 1997.
Mexico’s war on drugs
Violence is a central issue in July’s presidential election. The Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, faces an uphill battle to keep his ruling Institutional Revolutionary party in office.
There were 40% more murder investigations opened last year compared with 2013, Peña Nieto’s first full year in office.
The country’s homicide rate of 20.5 for every 100,000 inhabitants was still below that of Brazil and Colombia, both at 27, and well below El Salvador’s 60.8.
On Thursday Mexico dismissed a claim by Donald Trump that it was the most dangerous country in the world.
Drug violence and turf battles prompted by the expansion of the Jalisco New Generation cartel are believed to be a major factor behind the rising murder rate.
Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report