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Murders Spike in Mexico, with May Deadliest Month in Decades

FILE - Police and forensics secure the area where six people were killed, in Acapulco, Mexico, Jan. 4, 2017.

May was Mexico's bloodiest month in at least 20 years and homicides are up sharply in 2017 compared with last year, according to newly released government crime statistics.

Statistics published Tuesday by the Interior Department said that 2,186 people were murdered last month. The previous monthly high was 2,131 in May 2011, according to a review of publicly available records that date back to 1997.

During the first five months of 2017, there were 9,916 murders nationwide — an increase of about 30 percent over the 7,638 slain during the same period last year.

Mexico launched a militarized offensive over a decade ago to combat drug cartels that plague parts of the country. Murders fell somewhat after peaking in 2011 but have risen again.

At the state level, Baja California Sur saw the biggest jump in the first five months of 2017. After registering 36 murders during the same period in 2016, that spiked by 369 percent to 169 so far this year.

There were also significant increases in Veracruz (93 percent), Quintana Roo (89 percent) and Sinaloa (76 percent).

Total homicides for the January-May period declined from 2016 in just four states — Campeche, Coahuila, Mexico State and Nuevo Leon — and nowhere did the drop exceed 6 percent.