Mexico murder rate hits record high in 2017

There were more than 25,300 murders in Mexico last year, a 23% jump from 2016 and the highest number since at least 1997.

FILE: Mexican Navy members mount guard following a shootout in which eight alleged drug traffickers were shot dead in Tlahuac, Mexico City, on 20 July, 2017. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Mexico's soaring levels of drug-related violence have made 2017 the most murderous year on record.

There were more than 25,300 murders in Mexico last year, a 23% jump from 2016 and the highest number since at least 1997, the year the government began tracking the data.

Overall, murders in Mexico had been declining in recent years, reaching a low of more than 15,500 in 2014.

But officials say a surge in drug-related crime has reversed that trend.

Meanwhile, in 2017 crime stats reported more than 19,000 murders in South Africa.