Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum highlighted a 57% reduction in homicides in her second annual report on Thursday as well as her government’s efforts to combat corruption.
During a virtual address to the Mexico City Congress, Sheinbaum said the number of homicides per day in the capital was 2.6 in August compared to 4.9 in January 2019 and 6.1 in May last year.
“There was a 57% reduction in homicide victims,” she said referring to the difference between the daily figures for May 2019 and last month.
The mayor said that high-impact crimes, which include homicides, kidnapping, extortion, vehicle theft and robberies, declined 50% between January last year and August, dropping from 168 per day to 84.
Violent vehicle theft declined 40% in the 20-month period, vehicle theft without violence fell 39%, violent robberies of businesses decreased 64% and robberies on the Metro dropped 84%, according to figures cited by Sheinbaum.
Robberies on public buses declined 72% and muggings of people after they withdrew money from a bank declined 47% to just one incident per day last month, she said.
Despite the reductions, the mayor said that her government still has work to do to reduce the incidence of some crimes, noting that home burglaries have not declined since she took office in December 2018.
Sheinbaum acknowledged the work of her security cabinet in improving the security situation in the capital, particularly that of Police Chief Omar García Harfuch, who was wounded in an armed attack in June that killed three people.
“In the face of adversity, he always puts in his best effort. … In the name of the residents of the city, thank you very much Omar. You are an example of courage and honesty and a role model for all members of the police,” she said.
Sheinbaum told lawmakers as well as a select number of guests who attended her address at the government palace in person that her government has stamped out corruption that previously flourished in the granting of permits for real estate projects.
Projects approved by the previous government were canceled and criminal complaints have been filed against those involved in the corruption, she said.
“There was so much corruption that today there is an arrest warrant against the former minister of urban development and housing,” Sheinbaum said.
The mayor said that her government’s wider efforts to eliminate corruption and put an end to the privileges previously enjoyed by high-ranking officials generated savings of 25 billion pesos (US $1.2 billion) in her first year in office.
The savings were directed to education, infrastructure projects and to increasing the salaries of police and administrative workers, Sheinbaum said.
“This is only achieved with a policy of austerity and without corruption. In my case I donated two months of my salary and my entire end-of-year bonus as did many other public servants,” she said.
The Morena party mayor, a close ally of President López Obrador, acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic has hit the capital hard both in terms of lives lost – Mexico City’s official death toll is currently 11,403 but the real figure is almost certainly much higher – and economically.
Some 215,000 jobs were lost and government revenue has dropped about 8% due to the pandemic, Sheinbaum said.
“We’re living through difficult times. The Covid-19 pandemic hit the city very hard, … it’s up to all of us to not drop our guard [and] continue with the fundamental health measures,” she said.
Confronted with the dual health and economic crisis, the government redirected 4.7 billion pesos to healthcare and financial support for citizens and business, Sheinbaum said.
The mayor also spoke of the infrastructure projects her government is carrying out including the expansion of public bus lines and the construction of five high schools.
In addition, Sheinbaum announced that she has sent an initiative to the Mexico City Congress that proposes that when a woman suffers domestic abuse, the perpetrator of the violence must leave the family home.
“There’s no reason to send a woman and her children to a shelter; she must [remain in] her own house … where she has greater security. … The aggressor must leave the home,” she said.
The mayor’s remarks came after women in Mexico City and several states protested against gender violence this week as Independence Day celebrations were taking place.