Newly released figures reveal that one person was murdered every twenty minutes in Mexico in May, the highest monthly murder rate recorded in 20 years. The data released Wednesday documented 2,452 murder investigations in May, almost a third higher than the same time last year and the highest recorded murder rate for any month dating back to 1997, when government tracking began.
Areas that are heavily disputed between rival drug cartels have higher murder rates: In Guerrero State, where the tourist resort of Acapulco is located, there were 216 murders in May, almost 7 a day.
Guerrero citizens resorted to form vigilante groups to protect their families and the gold mines from rival drug cartels -- Guerreros Unidos and Los Rojos -- who fight for control of drug trafficking routes and extort money from the mine owners.
In Sinaloa, the home of the cartel led by one of Mexico’s most notorious drug kingpins, Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, there were 184 murders, including the fatal shooting, in broad daylight, of veteran organized crime journalist Javier Valdez on May 15.
The Mexican government rejected the IISS study findings, claiming that the number of homicide victims is not specific to the drug war, as it includes victims of other crimes such as domestic violence. Mexico State, which recorded the country’s highest homicide rate in May with 225 murder probes, has been dubbed the femicide capital by Spanish newspaper El Pais.
Since the government does not record the number of organized-crime-related homicides, the overall murder rate is the closest one can get to measuring the intensity of the Mexican conflict, IISS researchers say