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A security camera in Guerrero A security camera in Guerrero. It may not be functional.

In violence-torn Guerrero cities, 30% of surveillance cameras don’t work

Government has been slow to pay companies that maintain them

In violence-stricken Guerrero, 30% of surveillance cameras in the state’s four largest cities are not functioning.

The state government has installed 723 cameras in Acapulco, Chilpancingo, Iguala and Zihuatanejo but 212 are currently on the blink, according to a report in the newspaper Reforma.

Just over three-quarters of the out-of-action cameras are in Acapulco, a faded resort city that has been described as Mexico’s murder capital.

The administration of former governor Ángel Aguirre spent 330 million pesos (US $17.2 million at today’s exchange rate) in 2012 to buy 600 security cameras for Acapulco but today only 438 of them work.

In Zihuatanejo, another beach destination that has been plagued by violence, 10.5 million pesos were spent to buy 20 cameras but now none of them are functional, according to a government report.

Of 78 cameras installed in the state capital Chilpancingo – which just over a year ago saw a spate of enforced disappearances – 12 have stopped working, while in Iguala, scene of the 2014 disappearance of 43 teaching students, only seven of 25 cameras are in working order.

A confidential report seen by Reforma says that cameras in Guerrero have stopped working for long periods because the state Secretariat of Finance and Administration has not been punctual in paying the companies responsible for maintaining them.

Alejandro Martínez Sidney, president of a business association in Acapulco, said the high number of inoperative cameras in the port city is “more proof that authorities are not interested in the security of citizens.”

Martínez said that state and municipal police have told him that a lot of the cameras don’t work because they have been vandalized by criminal gangs.

He called on municipal, state and federal authorities to repair the devices and ensure that maintenance is carried out regularly so they remain operational.

Chilpancingo government official Víctor Manuel Ortega said that more cameras will be installed in the capital soon, explaining that they will be placed in parts of the city with high rates of crime.

The municipal government has announced an investment of 15 million pesos to purchase new cameras and drones but Ortega explained there are not enough funds to install cameras in all 500 of Chilpancingo’s neighborhoods.

One part of the city that is already well equipped with cameras is the street on which Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo lives. Eight video cameras keep a watchful eye over every square inch of his Chilpancingo home.

Guerrero was the third most violent state in Mexico last year in terms of homicide numbers, recording a total of 2,472 murders.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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