The incidence of high-impact crimes soared in Morelos in the first four months of the year, the worst being extortion, which skyrocketed by 705%.
According to data compiled by the security consulting firm GLAC, kidnappings surged by 158%, intentional homicides rose by 39% and theft of auto parts increased by 24%.
The statistics are bad news for Cuauhtémoc Blanco, a former soccer star and mayor of Cuernavaca who became Morelos governor on October 1, 2018.
In sheer numbers, there were 57 reported cases of extortion between January and April, 26 kidnappings, 313 intentional homicides and 690 auto parts robberies.
In the same period a year ago, when Graco Ramírez was governor, just seven cases of extortion and 10 kidnappings were reported.
Under Blanco’s administration, 86.4% of residents believe that the central Mexican state is unsafe, the GLAC Index indicated. Statistics show that homicides increased in the state capital while Blanco was mayor, between 2016 and 2018.
Referring to the governor’s ascension to the top job earlier this month, activist Javier Sicilia observed that the state had replaced the corrupt with the inept.
“Graco Ramírez was bad and it seems that this one [Blanco] is going to be worse,” he said.
According to the state security commissioner, organized crime groups are responsible for most of the murders and other high-impact crimes in Morelos.
José Antonio Ortiz Guarneros said that five gangs operate in the state: the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), Los Rojos, La Familia Michoacana, Los Tlahuicas and Los Mayas.
Morelos’ location between Guerrero – a large drug producing state – and Mexico City makes controlling the state an attractive proposition for organized crime.
Interior Secretary Pablo Ojeda Cárdenas said the gangs, most notably the CJNG and Los Rojos, are fighting over the route between the two locations.
Earlier this month he said that Morelos needs more police because it currently has a force of only 600 officers.
However, Ojeda expressed confidence that with a future deployment of the National Guard, recruitment of more police officers and greater coordination, authorities will be able to significantly improve the security situation.
Last week, a suspected leader of Los Rojos was arrested in Zacatepec, Morelos, on charges of organized crime and kidnapping.
Source: El Financiero (sp)