Rising levels of violence in Quintana Roo this year have forced Cancún business owners to allocate around 30% of their total expenditures to security measures, according to the local president of the Mexican Employers’ Federation.
Adrián López Sánchez, Coparmex chief in the Caribbean coast city, said that hoteliers, restaurateurs and other businesses in the tourism sector were all spending a significant part of their operating budgets on private security personnel, cameras and other protective measures.
López told the newspaper Reforma that the surge in security spending reflected a sense of “panic” in the business community.
National Public Security System statistics show that statewide homicides more than doubled in the first 10 months of 2017 compared to last year’s figures. Since April, authorities in the municipalities of Benito Juárez (where Cancún is located) and Isla Mujeres have been meeting monthly with citizens’ groups to discuss strategies to combat the scourge.
Further funding for the C5 command center in Cancún is in the works, López said, and eventually more than 5,000 soldiers could also be deployed.
“There is talk of a military city,” he remarked.
One of the biggest concerns, especially in the tourism sector, is the loss of revenue from international companies that are deterred from holding business conferences in Cancún or cancel their plans because of the increasingly frequent news of violent crime.
A travel warning for Mexico issued by the United States Department of State in August advised of the rise in homicides in Quintana Roo and included the tourist hotspots of Cancún, Playa del Carmen, the Riviera Maya and Tulum in its advisory.
López said that the worst of the warning’s impact on the local economy was likely still to come as its effect was not “immediate.”
Last weekend, a further seven people were killed as a result of violence, including a municipal police officer who was shot dead in Cancún. His partner was seriously wounded.
The arrest of a gang leader known as “Doña Lety” in August, who was believed to behind the surge of violence in Cancún and Playa del Carmen, has not led to a downturn in violent crime as authorities had thought and hoped.
The net effect is not only increased security spending and a downturn in the economy but also increased fear in the general population.
A recent public security survey by the national statistics institute Inegi found that 62.2% of Quintana Roo residents consider insecurity as the biggest problem confronting the state.
Source: Reforma (sp)