Joint operations carried out by state security forces and the Mexican military in Baja California Sur will see violent crime rates drop within days, according to the state’s new undersecretary of public security.
In an interview with the newspaper El Universal, Armando Nava Sánchez, who is also a captain in the Navy, said that the planning and execution of operations to fight crime are based on intelligence work and their frequency has increased.
Nava Sánchez, who was appointed on October 18, recognized that an upsurge in crime is due to a “fight between opposing cartels” although he didn’t specifically refer to any criminal groups by name.
Pressed by El Universal, he claimed that the state Attorney General’s office had not identified the feuding cartels by name although a turf war between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) is widely believed to be the main cause behind the soaring murder rate.
There were 451 homicides recorded in the first nine months of 2017, according to official statistics, representing a 358% increase over 2014. At least 90 more murders occurred in October, according to reports in local newspapers.
The upsurge in violence has been blamed for thousands of hotel cancellations in popular tourist destinations including Los Cabos.
Some observers claim that the increase is linked to the extradition of former Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to the United States in January.
Nava Sánchez agreed, saying that the prevalence of high-impact crimes had increased since the former capo left the country.
The undersecretary said the state government’s main aim was to reduce the high rates of violent crime and that it was “working intensely” to achieve it. Joint operations with the armed forces were occurring 24 hours a day, he said.
He was optimistic that the efforts were paying off and predicted that there would be a reduction in crime rates in the coming days that will mean people “can walk freely on the streets . . .and that tourists visiting us can enjoy this great destination.”
Nava Sánchez also said that the state government has taken measures to protect the security of journalists working in Baja California Sur. A 73-year-old crime reporter, Maximino Rodríguez, was killed in the state capital La Paz in April.
The undersecretary also lamented the loss of innocent lives. An infant died last week after being caught in the crossfire in an incident at a restaurant. Nava Sánchez stressed that state security forces took the utmost care to avoid collateral damage.
He also warned people to avoid entering zones that have been identified as dangerous and where most of the homicides have occurred, emphasizing that crime had not affected tourist zones.
A review of the state’s police forces that is intended to eliminate corruption has already begun, Nava Sánchez said, while security has also been beefed up at transportation infrastructure including the La Paz airport and Pichilingue port.
Source: El Universal (sp)