The number of drug-related murders in Mexico has fallen by nearly a fifth in 2013 compared with the previous year.
The annual survey by the Milenio newspaper said that 10,095 people were killed by drug cartels in 2013, compared with 12,412 in 2012, a fall of 19 per cent.
The newspaper’s tally for the previous two years also exceeded 12,000.
The most dangerous states were reported to be Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Jalisco and Guerrero.
The state with the most drug killings was once again Chihuahua in the north, which borders the US, and includes such notoriously violent cities as Juarez.
But the state showed a decrease of 21 per cent in homicides linked to criminal groups, according to the Milenio’s count, at 1,794 for the year.
Official figures – which include drug-related and non-drug-related deaths – also showed a marked decrease in the number of murders.
There were 16,736 between January and November 2013, 16 per cent fewer than in the same period of the previous year.
Civil rights organisations say that, while assassinations have fallen under the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office 13 months ago, other violent crimes including kidnapping and extortion have increased.