The number of homicides in Sinaloa is on the decline: they were down 17% last year compared to 2018 and by 58% compared to 2010, the state public security secretary said on Tuesday.
Cristóbal Castañeda Camarillo told a press conference that preliminary statistics show there were 934 intentional homicide cases in Sinaloa in 2019 whereas in the first year of the decade there were 2,250.
The security secretary said the efforts of all three levels of government contributed to the “historic decrease” in homicide numbers over the past decade.
Greater coordination between state and municipal police forces in Sinaloa and the armed forces helped to achieve a reduction not only in homicides but in a range of other crimes, Castañeda said.
Vehicle theft declined 55% to 4,222 cases in 2019 compared to 9,401 cases in 2010, the secretary said before highlighting reductions in the incidence of several crimes between 2018 and last year.
Vehicle theft declined 28%, business robberies fell 7% to 986 cases and kidnappings decreased by 25% to nine cases.
Although crime statistics support the secretary’s assertion of an improved security situation in the northern state, the events of October 17, 2019, when the Sinaloa Cartel responded violently to an operation to capture a son of jailed drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, paint a very different picture.
Cartel gunmen took effective control of Culiacán for several hours in an unprecedented show of strength, which led the federal government to take the decision to release Ovidio Guzmán to avoid a bloodbath in the city.
The decision was heavily criticized in Mexico and abroad. A United States Secretary of State official said the events in Culiacán were “very concerning” for the U.S. government.
Many critics said the government had effectively given in to organized crime by releasing Ovidio Guzmán in the face of the threat posed by the Sinaloa Cartel.
However, President López Obrador defended the “very difficult” but “very humane” decision, asserting that the government took the view that that “the life of human beings comes first, not violence.”