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Government acknowledges crime increase but denies negligence

Diversification of gangs an important factor in upsurge in violence: Segob

The government acknowledged yesterday that there has been an increase in high-impact crime but denied it has been negligent in the face of the deteriorating security situation.

In response to a demand by the Mexican Employers Federation (Coparmex) for security reform, the Interior Secretariat (Segob) issued a statement to say “this federal administration recognizes that . . .  2017 concluded with an unusual increase in high-impact crime rates in different regions of the country.”

There were more than 29,000 homicides in Mexico last year, making it the most violent in at least two decades and statistics show that this year is on track to be even worse.

The Segob statement said the upsurge in violent crime was largely caused by the “diversification of criminal activities” by criminal gangs that have moved beyond drug trafficking into rackets such as petroleum theft.

The government attributed partial blame for the crime wave to citizens who have been “forced or induced” by criminals to hinder police efforts to arrest people who commit crimes such as highway and freight train robbery.

It said that had caused a “weakening of some institutional structures at different levels of government, be they municipal, state or even federal.”

Segob also noted that the federal Congress and the Supreme Court had not resolved fundamental issues related to the structure of municipal and state police forces or established limits to the role of the military in public security.

Beyond those admissions, the Enrique Peña Nieto-led administration refused to take further responsibility.

“The federal government has not been negligent and has taken various measures such as the implementation of the operation Escudo-Titán [Titan Shield], in order to improve levels of coordination,” Segob said.

The statement then went on to list the new security program’s successes since it was implemented on January 29.

They included the arrest of 1,784 people linked to high-impact crimes such as homicide and kidnapping, a 16.1% drop in the rate of the latter crime in the first quarter of 2018, the execution of 727 arrest warrants and the seizure of drugs including marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine.

It also said that 292 illegal pipeline taps had been detected, two million liters of gasoline had been recovered and 1,513 stolen vehicles had been located and returned to their rightful owners or insurance companies.

In addition, the government named three high-profile criminal figures who have recently been detained including the wife of the boss of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), Rosalinda González Valencia, and the same cartel’s leader in Guanajuato and Michoacán, identified only as Gerardo “N.”

Carlos “N,” the biggest smuggler of drugs from Chihuahua into the United States and “the leader of the criminal group with the greatest presence in the north of the country” was also arrested, Segob said.

The Interior Secretariat added that fuel theft from a Pemex refinery in Salamanca, Guanajuato, had been interrupted and that in the Puebla municipality of San Martín Texmelucan the leader of the region’s main group of fuel thieves, known as huachicoleros, had been captured.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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