A total of 1,700 gangland killings occurred in the northern Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez during the first seven months of the year, a figure that was up 47.6 percent from the same period in 2009, when 1,150 people were murdered, officials and press reports said.
The January-July 2010 figure includes 18 murders that occurred over the weekend in Mexico’s murder capital.
Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas, is the scene of a war for control of smuggling routes between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels.
Fifteen people, including two women, were murdered in the border city on Saturday.
Three other people were killed on Sunday, Chihuahua state prosecutors said.
July ended as the second-most-violent month of 2010 in the border city, with 291 homicides, or an average of eight per day, being registered.
June ranks as the most violent month of the year, with 313 homicides, followed by May, with 262; March, with 240; January, with 227; April, with 205; and February, with 163.
Ciudad Juarez, where nearly 6,000 people have been murdered since 2008, has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.
The murder rate took off in the border city of 1.5 million people in 2007, when 310 people were killed, then it more than tripled to 1,607 in 2008, according to state AG’s office figures, with the number of killings climbing to 2,635 last year.
Ciudad Juarez, with 191 homicides per 100,000 residents, was the most violent city in the world in 2009, registering a higher murder rate than San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Caracas and Guatemala, two Mexican non-governmental organizations said in a report released earlier this year.
Some 25,000 people have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.
More than 7,000 gangland killings have occurred so far this year in Mexico, Attorney General Arturo Chavez Chavez said last month.
The death toll for all of 2009 was 7,724.