Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a press conference at the National Palace, in Mexico City, capital of Mexico, on June 3, 2019. (Xinhua/Francisco Canedo)

Decreasing Mexico’s high rates of violent crime is the government’s main challenge, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Sunday.

“Reducing the country’s crime rate is our principal challenge,” Lopez Obrador told a massive crowd of supporters gathered in Mexico City’s central square to mark his first full year in office.

“But we are sure that we are going to pacify Mexico with the support of the people and the coordinated efforts of the entire government,” the president added.

Lopez Obrador used the anniversary celebration to present his administration’s progress on different fronts, especially in improving the welfare of the poor and working classes, a linchpin of his anti-crime campaign.

According to Lopez Obrador, the most effective way to fight crime is to raise standards of living, so Mexico’s young people are less likely to become easy targets of criminal organizations.

“There still hasn’t been the economic growth we want, but there is better distribution of wealth,” he said.

“The public budget is not remaining in a few hands, as it used to, but it is reaching most of the people,” he added.

A government anti-drug use campaign also aims to protect youth from Mexico’s numerous drug-trafficking groups.

“If we reduce drug use, we are going to be able to resolve the serious problem of insecurity and violence,” said Lopez Obrador.