The coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 has not curbed violence in Mexico, on the contrary: more than two thousand people have been killed in the country since the first positive case of the disease was detected at the end of last February. It’s the highest level of crimes in the last 10 months.
The situation has not changed even with the implementation of phase 2 of the health emergency and the tightening of mobility measures: 263 people were killed in the first 72 hours following this.
Seen in proportion, at least 178 murders have been reported for every fatality of the officially recognized COVID-19 coronavirus so far in Mexico.
The security report published daily by the security cabinet shows that about half of these killings have been concentrated in five states, and at the head of all of them is Guanajuato. Meanwhile, there are only three states where no crimes have been recorded since the alert level was raised.
On 28 February, health authorities reported the first positive case of COVID-19 coronavirus in the country in a 35-year-old man who had traveled to Italy. The next day it was confirmed that Mexico was in phase 1 of the contagion, which corresponds to cases of people who brought the virus from other countries.
As of that date, in the period from 1 to 26 March 2019, a total of 2 thousand 142 homicide victims have been counted in the country, according to that official report. This equates to an average of at least 82 people killed every day.
According to the same report, this is the highest monthly average of murders since June 2018, the month in which nearly 85 homicides were recorded daily.
On Tuesday, March 24, it was officially announced that the entry into phase 2 of the pandemic was announced, after the first contagions in the country were detected without those involved having traveled or had contact with someone who did. That is, community contagions. With the aforementioned announcement, calls were hardened so that people do not leave their homes, and the closure of multiple businesses, among others, was instructed.
But even violence has not ceased. In the 72 hours following the announcement, 263 victims of intentional homicide have been officially reported. The daily average of these three days is even worse than march in whole, with nearly 88 murders recorded nearly 24 hours.
This data corresponds to a security report that is reported daily and which, because of its immediacy, has a sub-registration of 15 to 20% of homicides, so the actual number of murders so far in March could be close to 2 thousand 500 cases.
Epicentres of Violence
The balance of homicides in the three days after phase 2 of the pandemic declined shows that the inertia of violence has not been affected by this phenomenon. There are states that are considered red light by the authorities where the crimes have continued.
There are five entities where nearly half of the 263 homicides recorded during this period were concentrated. Guanajuato is by far the most alarming case since in itself it accumulates 45 homicides (14 on March 24, 18 on March 25, and 13 on March 26). That’s 17% of all recorded murders.
It is followed far behind by the State of Mexico, where 27 victims of manslaughter were reported, according to the report; then Jalisco with 22 cases in total; Chihuahua with 16 homicides and Michoacán with 15.
Other entities that recorded double digit homicides in the first three days of phase 2 of the emergency were Guerrero with 14 homicides, Baja California with 13 cases and Mexico City with 10.
By contrast, the only three states where no intentional homicides have been reported at least within 72 hours of phase 2 being decreed are Aguascalientes, Baja California Sur and Nayarit.
They will strengthen operatives
The federal government will bolster its security deployment in the country from April with at least seven thousand new National Guard troops who recently completed their basic training course and are ready to reinforce the current deployment of 83,000.
According to federal authorities consulted by Political Animal, the deployment will take as a priority Guanajuato and other entities where high levels of violence have been recorded,
The aim is to contain a possible uptick in homicidal violence. According to the daily safety report, March is the second consecutive month in which there is an increase in the daily average of homicides, after the average was 81.1 cases in February and in January out of 76.6.
It is also envisaged to strengthen support to local authorities for the prevention of other crimes that have arisen in the context of the current contingency, such as attempts at theft disguised as looting in department stores registered in the state of Mexico.
In the last week alone, the public security secretariats of the state of Mexico and Mexico City reported more than 60 attacks on businesses, both conventional thefts – some by armed robbery – as well as others called on social networks.
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