Security officials have identified 18 active criminal gangs fighting for territorial control in Guerrero, 12 of which are homegrown and six are national, said the state’s security chief yesterday.
Security Secretary Pedro Almazán Cervantes described the state gangs as small bands of criminals, many of whom boast of being part of a larger organization in order to intimidate rivals and stoke fear among citizens to make them more susceptible to extortion.
They also set out to achieve the latter through messages on social media.
Almazán said such messages should be read with reservations and that no one should be alarmed by them. He said the same about narco-messages announcing the incursion of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel into Acapulco.
They should not be taken at face value, he said, as some criminals are only looking to instill fear.
As for criminal activity in the state, Almazán said homicide numbers have gone up in 16 states but in Guerrero they have declined by 1.5%.
However, the state needs more police officers and more resources, he said.
Of a violent clash in Acapulco last Thursday that left 12 people dead, Almazán said it was the result of ongoing turf wars by criminal gangs.
The security chief made his remarks during a ceremony yesterday marking the 105th anniversary of the Mexican Army, where regional commander Germán Javier Jiménez Mendoza observed that continuing violence in Acapulco is not an indication of a failed strategy.
“There are days when there isn’t a single homicide but the news media never mentions them,” he said.