Mexico has waged a long, bloody battle on drugs and crime for decades. But violence there continues to soar.
In one of the latest high-profile incidents, Mexican law enforcement arrested Ovidio Guzmán-López, a leader of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel and the son of imprisoned drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, in early January 2023. The arrest sparked a wave of violence in Culiacan in northwest Mexico, resulting in looting, shootouts and 29 people killed.
The ongoing violence in parts of Mexico is largely associated with drug trafficking organizations like Sinaloa, street gangs and self-defense forces regular citizens have formed to protect themselves from crime because of ineffective police and military deterrents.
But these attempts have largely failed, allowing the cycle of violence to escalate.
Here are four key points to understand.
Violent crime varies significantly across the country.
The people most at risk of violence are in the central and southwestern parts of the country, as well as in the northern states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Baja California Norte and Tamaulipas.