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Municipalities lost some of their funding to the National Guard. Municipalities lost some of their funding to the National Guard.

Municipalities in crisis, defenseless against crime: security chief

They need more resources; corruption putting security at risk

Mexico’s states and municipalities are defenseless against organized crime and impunity, according to the executive secretary of the National Public Security System, Leonel Cota Montaño.

In a speech before the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, Cota called the situation “a true crisis of insecurity and impunity.”

He told members of the Public Security Commission that there is an urgent necessity to provide municipalities with greater resources, and condemned the prevailing corruption and misuse of resources in state governments that is putting public security at risk.

He also told lawmakers that there was a 1-billion-peso (US $52-million) budget cut to municipalities in order to help fund the National Guard.

But the new federal security force is still unequipped to deal with problems in all the municipalities.

“We must strengthen the National Guard in 2020 and we can’t say that there aren’t the resources to do it. The National Guard is the principal strategy of the federal government, and the second strategy is to strengthen local police forces.”

He reported that municipalities are defenseless against the violence of organized crime, pointing out that more than 600 have no police officers.

Cota said around 2,000 municipalities have fewer than 50.

He also denounced the lack of investigation expertise in police forces, noting there are only 6,473 registered investigative officers in the country’s 2,458 municipalities. The number is not enough to meet the demand, he said, and impunity has risen to as high as 96% in the face of the 33 million crimes reported in 2018.

He also said “corruption prevails” in many municipalities. As an example, he said the federal government buys bulletproof vests for 8,472 pesos (US $443), while states can end up paying as much as 30,000 pesos for them.

Sources: El Financiero (sp), El Sol de Puebla (sp)

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