The Security Secretary, Rosa Icela Rodríguez, defends that, homicides are going down. Despite the drop, the country maintains very high levels of violence
Mexico closed 2023 with 30,523 murder victims, according to figures from the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP), which collects the statistics from the files of the state prosecutors. This is a reduction of 1,431 victims compared to the previous year, according to the same source, and almost 4,000 compared to the count of 2021. The number of victims, however, remains above 30,000, for the sixth consecutive year, according to the SESNSP, consolidating the six-year term of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, of Morena, as the most violent in the recent history of the country.
The Security Secretary, Rosa Icela Rodríguez, presented part of these figures and some interpretations this Tuesday, at the morning press conference of the president. Rodríguez highlighted that the daily average of murders fell to 81 in 2023, from 101 and 100 recorded in 2018 and 2019, respectively. The official pointed out other positive aspects of the figures, such as the percentage variation of murder victims, from the beginning to the end of the six-year term. In López Obrador’s years, which ends his term in September, the murdered have dropped by 20%, he explained.
The figures of murders in Mexico depend on a triple count. The Government, through the Security Secretariat, updates a daily report based on preliminary data from “prosecutors and federal agencies”. In parallel, the SESNSP, a decentralized and autonomous body, collects the monthly figures from the state prosecutors and publishes them on its own page. The third count is carried out by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi), which takes its data from the death certificates of the Ministry of Health.
The Government itself prioritizes the data from the Inegi and then those from the SESNSP, although it takes the count of the secretariat as a reference, since the institute usually gives the figures for the previous year in the following October. That is, the Inegi will report the global result of 2023, in October of this year. Normally, the Inegi raises the count of the Secretariat, although not too much. In third place, there are the data from the daily report, a momentary snapshot of the situation, but with little value in the medium term.
Rodríguez has insisted on one of the Government’s favorite interpretations these years on this issue, that of the usual suspects. The secretary has pointed out that six of the 32 states of the country register almost half of the murders, leading this list Guanajuato. Controlled by the National Action Party (PAN), Guanajuato has been at the head of the most violent states for years, a situation that López Obrador has linked to drug consumption. Along with Guanajuato are the State of Mexico, this one controlled by Morena since a few months ago, Baja California, Chihuahua, Jalisco and Michoacán.
It is difficult to interpret these figures, as much as the Government wants to sell them as a success. Not so many years ago, it was unthinkable that Mexico would remain installed on a plateau of 30,000 murders per year or more, with rates of 23 to 25 per 100,000 inhabitants. But the reality now is that and marginal reductions are considered strategic successes. The truth here is that there is no way to know what these reductions are due to, also considering the number of missing persons in Mexico, more than 113,000, the vast majority, 99,748, registered between December 2006 and January 16 of this year.
The choice of the time frame is not capricious. Mexico is experiencing a security crisis
Source: El Pais