Thursday, June 13, 2024

Mexico City wants quick results from its new police chief

The new Mexico City police chief has a simple strategy to bring down crime rates: arrest more criminals.

Omar García Harfuch, who was sworn in as security secretary on Friday, told reporters on Sunday that Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum is seeking a rapid reduction in crime rates in the capital.

But that won’t happen unless lawbreakers are taken off the streets, he said.

“The main instruction we have from the mayor is to produce quick results. We know that there are very delicate issues that won’t be resolved if there are no arrests. There have to be arrests so that crime rates go down . . .” García said.

The police chief said the secretariat he heads will work closely with the Mexico City Attorney General’s Office in order to strengthen criminal investigations and thus make more arrests.

“The reality is that there is a large number of crimes, a large number of crimes that are affecting society and which have to be dealt with. They range from carjacking . . . to the robbery of passengers on public transit . . .” García said.

Statistics show that a range of crimes increased in Mexico City during the first eight months of 2019 compared to the same period last year.

Kidnappings surged 430%, extortion rose 69%, homicides increased by 12.5%, drug dealing offenses went up 30.7% and robberies grew by just under 1%.

García, a former Federal Police officer who most recently was in charge of the capital’s investigative police, said that a thorough review of the Mexico City police will be undertaken in the coming days in order to ascertain what is working and what is not in the government’s fight against crime.

The 37-year-old’s appointment as police chief came a day after the resignation of Jesús Orta Martínez, whose 10-month tenure was marked by several high-profile cases, including the murders of Norberto Ronquillo and Leonardo Avendaño.

Orta also came under fire for the Mexico City government’s response to a case in which four police officers were accused of raping a 17-year-old girl.

Two women’s protests in August that demanded the authorities take action against the alleged perpetrators of the crime, and declare a gender alert in the capital, turned violent as did the recent anniversary marches for the 43 students who disappeared in Guerrero in 2014 and the victims of the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre.

García acknowledged that preventing violence at protests is an issue that authorities must confront. Sheinbaum said last week that the “Peace Belt” of civilian government employees that was deployed during the Tlatelolco protest march served its purpose and may be deployed again in future marches.

García said yesterday that “people who infiltrate the marches” are responsible for the violence and acts of vandalism committed recently on the streets of the capital.

“It doesn’t matter what the objective of the march is, it doesn’t matter what it’s about, [infiltrators] turn up to wreak havoc,” he said.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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