MEXICO CITY (AP) – The most reliable count shows homicides in Mexico fell significantly for the first time in years in 2022, Mexico’s National Statistics Institute said Tuesday.
Mexico’s National Statistics Institute said there were 32,223 homicides in 2022, 9.7% less than in 2021. The country’s homicide rate per 100,000 inhabitants fell from around 28 in 2021 to 25 in 2022.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has persistently battled high homicide rates since taking office in December 2018, said the drop represented the results of his “hugs not bullets” policy of avoiding open confrontation with drug cartels while funding education and scholarship programs for youth.
“The strategy of addressing the root causes of violence is starting to show results,” López Obrador said.
However, the number of homicides nationwide appears to have largely decreased in the first half of 2023, when there were 15,122 homicides, compared to 15,381 in the same period of 2022.
By comparison, the US homicide rate in 2021 was about 7.8 per 100,000 inhabitants.
The six-month figures are preliminary reports from the police and prosecutor’s office. Statistics Norway’s figures are published annually with a six-month delay, but are considered more reliable – and are generally higher – because they are based on death certificates.
Much of the violence in Mexico is attributed to disputes between drug cartels, which are also involved in kidnapping, extortion and other forms of smuggling.