As federal authorities strengthen security forces in the central state of Guanajuato, violent crime continues to rise, particularly homicide: there were 97 homicides recorded last month, making October the state’s most violent month this year.
Along with the deployment of additional army troops, once peaceful towns like San Miguel de Allende are strengthening their own forces, after unprecedented levels of violence have been seen in both San Miguel and Dolores Hidalgo.
Earlier this month San Miguel Mayor Ricardo Villarreal welcomed the arrival of 13 new patrol vehicles, five for the Municipal Police, five for the Highway Patrol and three for Civil Protection.
During a ceremony Villarreal reminded residents of the deplorable conditions of security vehicles in previous years, and said the modern vehicles and equipment would better prepare security forces for the challenges ahead.
While many residents have welcomed the boost in security, others point to its limitations. Local activist and community leader César Arias tentatively supports the new measures. “I think local government is doing what it can, but without sufficient manpower or economic resources they cannot tackle insecurity and urban problems very effectively.”
Since the arrival of extra forces, violent crime has continued to affect San Miguel de Allende, including its large expatriate community. On October 31, Rouhollah Shirazi, an Iranian teacher of English who had been missing for a week, was found dead on a roadside at the edge of town.
On November 4 in the neighboring municipality of Comonfort police and military personnel arrested nine members of a criminal gang that has been linked to numerous homicides in recent months. During the confrontation, police officer Juan Manuel Rojas Alvarado was killed.
The majority of the gang’s members were from the neighboring state of Michoacán, leading to concerns that cartel violence is spreading from more violent areas of Mexico to historically peaceful states such as Guanajuato.