The rurales and feds cannot be everywhere at once. Petty criminals move into the vacuum and take advantage of it. When local police get a telephone call about robbery or violence, they all pile into a car and go the opposite direction.
After recently visiting Michoacan and talking with friends and neighbors (all Mexicanos), I have come to the conclusion that travel in the state is inadvisable due to the strife between the LCT (Los Caballeros Templarios), the Rurales, the authentic cops, SSP and military authorities, and the utterly corrupt state and local police. Tourist cars have been carjacked outside the sancturio mariposas, Uruapan, Tzintzuntzan, and north of Caleta de Campos on Mex 200. Tourist pedestrians have been robbed at gunpoint during daylight outside the Parque Nacional Paricutin and on a side street in Villa Escalante /Sta Clara del Cobre.
My recent stay in Michoacan was all too short (I flew down courtesy of a friend of a friend in their Cessna Skyknight to Zihuatenejo and stayed a week). What I saw and what I heard breaks my heart. Chiapas late 1995 was nothing compared to the citizen uneasiness I saw in Michoacan on this trip. It is disturbing. The place is a powder keg.