President Enrique Peña Nieto's swearing in ceremony

Over a dozen homicides were reported on December 1, the day that Enrique Peña Nieto was sworn in as Mexico's president, in an indication of the challenges that await him on the security front.

As illustrated by the map below, the bulk of the homicides took place in Zacatecas, capital of Zacatecas state, and in the city of Torreon, Coahuila.

Five bodies were found in different locations across Zacatecas city, bearing messages signed in the name of the Gulf Cartel, reported Proceso. "We gave you a chance to leave and you didn't, from now on executions will be 10 for 1," the message reportedly read.

In Torreon, two police officers and two Public Security Ministry agents were reported killed. The attacks form part of a wave of violence against police in Torreon in recent months. In another sign of the violence in the city, seven dismembered bodies were reportedly found there the day after Peña Nieto's inauguration.


View Zacatecas in a larger map

InSight Crime Analysis

In his inauguration speech, Peña Nieto stated that his first goal would be to reduce Mexico's violence. The count of 13 dead within the first 24 hours of his six-year term illustrates the challenges that lie ahead for the 46-year-old politician, who brings the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) back to the presidency. The party has been accused of turning a blind eye to Mexico's drug cartels during its 71 years in power, before it lost the presidency in 2000.

Peña Nieto has already made several concrete proposals for his security strategy, including the creation of a gendarmerie and the dissolution of the Ministry of Public Security. As InSight Crime has pointed out, some pillars of his predecesor's strategy are worth continuing, including the ongoing implementation of widespread judicial reforms, which have radically changed the way Mexico conducts trials. But there are other pitfalls worth avoiding, including the previous government's failure to keep a public and transparent record of the missing and the dead.