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Mexico Averaged 4 Murders An Hour In May, Its Highest Recorded Homicide Rate Ever
The steady increase in deadly violence that Mexico has experienced over the past three years continued in May when 2,890 people were killed — an average of 93 a day, or almost four victims an hour.
The total number of victims surpasses the 2,746 recorded in March to make May the deadliest month this year, and it topped the 2,750 victims registered in October, making May the deadliest month in two decades, the period for which the government has released homicide data.
There were also 2,530 homicide cases opened in May. Cases can contain more than one victim, and May's total was the most in a month this year and the most on record. The daily average of 93.2 homicide cases was also an increase over April when it was 90.7 cases a day.
Christopher Woody/Business Insider
Deadly violence in Mexico has steadily increased since 2015, after declining during the first two full years of President Enrique Peña Nieto's term, which started in December 2012.
There were 7,167 homicide victims during the first five months of 2015, which closed with 17,892 victims. There were 8,364 victims between January and May 2017, increasing to 22,569 by the end of that year.
2017 had 10,988 homicide victims during the first five months and ended with 28,710 victims, which was a record for a full year.
There were 13,298 homicide victims recorded in the first five months of 2018, putting the year on pace for 31,915 killings.
The homicide rate between January and May this year was 9.17 cases per 100,000 people, a 75% increase over the 5.25 cases during the same period in 2015, according to Mexican news site Animal Politico.
"We are nearing a level of 100 homicides a day in the country, and with an upward trend, we still don't see a break," Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope said on Thursday on radio show Atando Cabos.
In March, Peña Nieto reached 104,583 officially reported homicide cases under his tenure, surpassing his predecessor, Felipe Calderon, who had 102,859 homicides during his six-year term. Calderon deployed the military around the country to combat organized crime, which many credit with driving violence in Mexico up.
Much of the increase since 2015 has been attributed to organized crime, especially in areas where organized-crime groups are clashing or where larger criminal groups have fragmented into smaller factions.
Such fragmentation often leads to more violence as smaller groups compete with each other. Those groups are also more likely to prey local populations, adding to insecurity.
Colima, one of Mexico's smallest states by population, is also its most violent, with a rate of 33.17 homicide cases per 100,000 people through May this year.
The state, located on the Pacific coast, is believed to be contested by elements of the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels. The 298 homicide victims there during the first five months of 2018 were a slight increase over the 281 over the same period last year.
Baja California, which borders the U.S. in northwest Mexico, was also the most violent among Mexico's 32 states, with a homicide rate of 29.47 per 100,000 people. Much of that bloodshed has taken place in Tijuana, which borders San Diego.
Airmen with the 177th Civil Engineer Squadron guide a 1,400 pound panel into place along the United States-Mexico border, Aug. 22, 2007.Air National Guard/Tech Sgt. Mark Olsen
Tijuana had 975 of the state's 1,218 homicide victims during the first five months of the year; the head of the rapid reaction police force in Rosarito, a town near Tijuana, was found slain in Tijuana on the morning of June 20.
Chihuahua, another northern border state, had a rate of 17.16 homicides per 100,000 people, and the 801 homicide victims there between January and May were an increase over the 752 during the same period last year.
"Chihuahua caught my attention a lot in May. It's back in the top 5. Something also happened in Ciudad Juarez," Hope said, referring to the state's major border city, which was the site of extreme drug-related violence between 2008 and 2012.
"Baja California is also already above the levels it had in 2007," Hope added, referring to a period of heightened violence there a decade ago.
Growing violence around Mexico's most popular tourist areas has been a source of concern in recent months.
In Quintana Roo, home to Cancun and Playa del Carmen, the number of homicide victims increased from 100 during the first five months of 2017 to 252 over that period this year.
In Baja California Sur, where Los Cabos is located, the number of homicide victims declined from 247 through May last year to 119 during the first five months of 2018.
Other signs of growing insecurity were also evident in the crime data released this week.
Femicides, or killings that specifically target women, have consistently increased over the past three years. The 328 femicides recorded through May were over 100% more than the 153 over the same period in 2015.
While reports of kidnapping and extortion were down slightly over the first five months of the year, there was a 22% increase in violent car thefts and a 39% increase in street-level drug dealing.
Homicide data for May was released 10 days before Mexicans vote in nationwide elections on July 1, in which 3,400 elected offices are up for grabs, including the presidency.
The increasing violence — which exists alongside and is often exacerbated by widespread corruption among law enforcement and rampant impunity for many crimes — has hung over the presidential campaign, even as the candidates have offered few specifics about how they would address it.
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Just before 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning 78 years ago, Lauren Bruner was preparing for church services and a date that would follow with a girl he'd met outside his Navy base.
The 21-year-old sailor was stationed as a fire controlman aboard the U.S. battleship USS Arizona, overseeing the vessel's .50-caliber guns.
Then alarms rang out. A Japanese plane had bombed the ship in a surprise attack.
It took only nine minutes for the Arizona to sink after the first bomb hit. Bruner was struck by gunfire while trying to flee the inferno that consumed the ship, the second-to-last man to escape the explosion that killed 1,177, including his best friend; 335 survived.
More than 70% of Bruner's body was burned. He was hospitalized for weeks.
Now, nearly eight decades after that fateful day, Bruner's ashes will be delivered to the sea that cradled his fallen comrades, stored in an urn inside the battleship's wreckage.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Joshua Kaleb Watson has been identified as one of the victims of a shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, CBS News reported.
The 23-year-old Alabama native and Naval Academy graduate was named to the Academy's prestigious Commandant's and Dean's lists, and also competed on the rifle team, Alabama's WTVY reported.
NAS Pensacola shooter railed against the US and quoted Osama bin Laden online hours before the attack
PENSACOLA, Fla. (Reuters) - The Saudi airman accused of killing three people at a U.S. Navy base in Florida appeared to have posted criticism of U.S. wars and quoted slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on social media hours before the shooting spree, according to a group that monitors online extremism.
Federal investigators have not disclosed any motive behind the attack, which unfolded at dawn on Friday when the Saudi national is said to have began firing a handgun inside a classroom at the Naval Air Station Pensacola.
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The Saudi military officer who shot and killed 3 people at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday reportedly hosted a "dinner party" the week before the attack "to watch videos of mass shootings," the Associated Press reports, citing an unnamed U.S. official.
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