Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador admitted in a speech on Tuesday that murders and extortion by criminal gangs have increased under his rule.
The left-wing populist, who came to power in December 2018, is struggling to tackle the high crime rates attributed to the powerful and ubiquitous drug cartels in the Central American country.
Lopez Obrador said in his speech that the murder rate has increased by 7.9 percent, and the extortion rate is up 12.7 percent.
According to the president, there is a “fundamental” link between those statistics and organized crime.
He said his government’s policy against the criminal gangs focuses in particular on job creation, education and benefits for people at risk of falling into the hands of gangs, especially young people.