Mexico City – Mexico registered 27,199 murders in 2011, or 24 per 100,000 people, three times the murder rate since President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, or INEGI, said Monday.
The murder rate was higher than the 23 per 100,000 people registered in 2010, the 18 per 100,000 people in 2009, the 13 per 100,000 people in 2008 and the eight per 100,000 people registered in 2007, the first full year of Calderón's term, the INEGI said in a statement.
The INEGI figures are based on preliminary death statistics compiled by the 4,723 civil registry offices and 1,096 federal Attorney General's Office bureaus in Mexico's 31 states and the Federal District.
The statistics are based on death certificates issued by coroners without specifying whether or not organized crime members were involved in the killing.
The Calderón administration does not plan to update the figures on deaths linked to Mexico's drug war, the Mexico City daily Reforma reported last week.
The overall murder rate aside, the death toll in Mexico’s bloody drug war has been hotly debated since outgoing President Calderón declared an offensive on the country’s drug cartels back in 2006.
The Mexican government, human rights groups and the media argued over the actual body count, until most media outlets finally settled on 50,000 as an approximate number for those killed in violence. However, a border and Latin American specialist at the New Mexico State University Library posits that the actual number is much higher…by almost double.
The drug war murder figures were only an approximate number and an "experiment" that raised questions among members of the Security Cabinet, prompting officials to stop compiling these statistics, National Public Safety System Executive Secretariat Information Center director Jaime López Aranda told the newspaper.
The latest report was released by the federal government in January and showed that 47,515 people had died in drug-related violence from Dec. 1, 2006, when Calderón took office, to Sept. 30, 2011.
The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which was founded by human rights activist and poet Javier Sicilia, puts the death toll from Mexico's drug war at 70,000.
More Statistics from INEGI Report
The number of murders in 2011 was up 5.59 percent in absolute terms, compared to the previous year.
The murder rate last year was 2.7 times higher than in 2005, the last full year of former President Vicente Fox's administration.
The states with the most murders were Chihuahua, with 4,502; Mexico state, with 2,613; Guerrero, with 2,425; Nuevo Leon, with 2,177; and Sinaloa, with 1,988.
Chihuahua was Mexico's most violent state, with 131 murders per 100,000 people, but the homicide rate was down 30 percent from 2010, when a turf war between rival drug cartels was raging in the border city of Ciudad Juárez.
Guerrero and Sinaloa states were next, with 71 murders per 100,000 people, followed by Durango (65), Nayarit (53) and Nuevo Leon (46).
Fox News Latino contributed to this report.