Friday, June 21, 2024

Train, track robberies soared almost 300% in first half of year

Train and track robberies increased almost fourfold in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period last year, according to data gathered by the Rail Transport Regulatory Agency (ARTF).

There were 1,965 robberies on Mexico’s railroads in the first six months of the year, 294% more than the 497 incidents recorded from January to June of 2017.

The 2018 figure exceeds the entire number of train and track robberies recorded in all of 2017, which totaled 1,752.

Puebla was the worst affected state with a total of 293 robberies in the first half of 2018. Guanajuato and Jalisco were next with 175 robberies each followed by México state and Sonora with 151 each.

The four most affected railroads were Valley of Mexico-Ciudad Juárez, Valley of Mexico-Nuevo Laredo, Puebla-Oaxaca and Valley of Mexico-Veracruz.

Grains, flour, auto parts and cement were the most frequently stolen products.

Of robberies committed in the second quarter of 2018, trains were targeted on 679 occasions while 330 incidents involved theft of parts of the track or railroad signals.

The latter figure is the highest ever recorded in a three-month period.

Freight was stolen in 92% of the attacks on trains while the theft of rolling stock accounted for the remaining 8% of incidents.

During the first half of the year, the ARTF also recorded 4,927 acts of vandalism to both trains and tracks.

Tampering with a train’s brakes was the most frequent form of vandalism reported.

Obstructing the railroad by setting up barricades with materials such as rocks or tires — a tactic used to halt and subsequently rob trains — was the most frequent form of vandalism affecting tracks.

A report published by the newspaper Reforma in May said that criminal gangs operating in Puebla and Veracruz “push” local residents into robbing trains “in exchange for a payment.”

Women, children and even grandmothers work with the gangs to stop and rob trains on the railroad between the two states, official reports and video evidence revealed.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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