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A school in Veracruz after it was looted by thieves. A school in Veracruz after it was looted by thieves.

Empty schools prove easy target for thieves in Veracruz

Some schools have been robbed more than three times

Schools left empty by the coronavirus pandemic have been a target for thieves in the state of Veracruz, where at least 67 schools have been robbed since March.

That’s on top of the more than 80 robberies reported last January at schools in the city of Veracruz since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Some schools have been hit several times.

The Elena Martínez Cabañas kindergarten has been robbed seven times, while other schools have faced more than three break-ins.

An official in Veracruz city said the state’s Education Ministry has not done enough to tackle the crimes.

“There are schools where there is nothing left to steal, they are completely cleaned out, but unfortunately [the ministry] has not tackled the issue. There is no solution to curb the robberies, those who steal for a living know that no one is going to chase them,” he said.

He requested that the ministry reconvene inter-institutional working groups to put together a strategy to tackle the crime. “We do not need a police officer in every school. What we need is a strategy.”

He claimed the working groups were not suspended because of the pandemic, but because the ministry argued with the security authorities that sit on them.

Education Minister Zenyazen Escobar García said it would be difficult to replace all of the stolen equipment. “Of the 67 schools many had been given computers … and what we have always been told is that once a school has received new equipment, that school goes to the back of the line … but we are considering what to do,” he said.

Sources: Milenio (sp), El Sol de Córdoba (sp)

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