Violence related to organized crime resulted in 12,394 deaths in Mexico last year, capital daily Milenio said Wednesday.

That total is slightly larger than the 12,284 gangland killings reported in 2011, but short of the modern record of 12,658 homicides, set in 2010, the newspaper noted.

Conflict among rival crime outfits and between the gangs and Mexican security forces has claimed some 70,000 lives since December 2006, when newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon militarized the struggle against drug trafficking.

The conservative Calderon administration, which left office Nov. 30, said most of the fatalities were people with ties to organized crime.

Unsupported by evidence, the government's claim infuriated victims' families and helped give rise to a civic movement that demanded a different approach to crime fighting.

Mexico's new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has announced what he describes as a different strategy, though it includes the continuing involvement of the armed forces in law enforcement. EFE