Six homicides in the Guanajuato cities of Celaya and Salvatierra on Wednesday Jan. 31, added to an already violent first month of the year, which could go down as the state’s most violent month on record.
There were 242 murders in the state last month, according to an unofficial media count. The figure is 13 more than the total number of homicides recorded in all of 2007.
The bloody start to the new year followed unprecedented levels of violent crime last year when well over 1,000 intentional homicides were recorded.
The intentional homicide rate has increased by 24% over the past three years, according to statistics from the National Public Security System.
Among the murder victims in January were several police officers, the leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Celaya, an official from state oil company Pemex and another official from ISSTE, the State Workers’ Social Security Institute.
State Security Secretary Álvar Cabeza de Vaca has indicated that 90% of intentional homicides in Guanajuato are related to organized crime.
The six homicides recorded on January 31 were slightly below the average daily rate for the month as a whole, which was around 7.8, or one murder every three hours.
A state justice official reported that a group of armed men broke into a home in Celaya on Wednesday night where they killed four people. Municipal, state and military police arrived at the address shortly after the incident while others searched for the perpetrators of the crime, but no arrests were made.
Earlier in the day a man was shot dead while standing in the door of his home in Salvatierra, around 130 kilometers south of state capital Guanajuato.
In a separate incident in the same city, another man who had been shot and killed was found in the Puente Nuevo zone.
In response to the soaring levels of violence, 1,500 additional military police were deployed to the state Tuesday to support security operations.
Cabeza de Vaca said that he was confident that the bolstered police presence would have an immediate effect.
Before the deployment, Governor Miguel Márquez Márquez said that federal authorities had authorized the military police to contribute to coordinated security efforts in 20 municipalities.
He explained that state security authorities would meet with municipal governments to coordinate the operations and expressed his gratitude to the military and its leadership.