Executions are behind Mexico City’s soaring violence

First-degree murders in Mexico City are on the rise, mainly due to disputes between different crime organization that are fighting for drug trafficking control in the area

Executions are behind Mexico City’s soaring violence
Spent shell casings from bullets – Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
English 29/01/2020 17:58 Kevin Ruiz y David Fuentes Mexico City Actualizada 09:58

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First-degree murders in Mexico City are on the rise, mainly due to disputes between different crime organizations that are fighting for drug trafficking control in the area.

An intelligence analysis of the Citizen Security Minister (SSC) that comprehends the period between December 5, 2018, and December 31, 2019, revealed that there were 1,512 cases registered.

The reports stress that for the first time it includes execution, with 986 cases, that correspond to the first year of government of the current administration headed by Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, which represents 65% of first-degree murders.

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The breakdown adds that under this protocol, authorities are investigating cases for the confrontation of crime groups, passion crimes, drug dealing, and extortion. From this universe, 47% of the executed were shot in the head, the so-called coup de grâce.

Experts in security matters refer that the increase of first-degree murders goes beyond social decay.

They suggest that the lack of attention in the prosecution of justice, the corruption that comprehends some police officers, the diversification of criminal groups, and the dispute of markets are the main causes of the rise of intentional homicides, that amounted to 1,326 cases in 2018 according to Mexico City authorities.

For the coordinator on security matters for the organization México Evalúa (Mexico Evaluates), David Ramírez de Garay, for authorities to classify as executions those first-degree murders due to territorial disputes between organized crime groups is “a way to communicate that the government doesn’t feel enough pressure or responsibility to investigate.”

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In that regard, the doctor and researcher of criminal sociology topic Daniel Cunjama asserts that organized crime groups are strengthening due to the logic of the drugs market which has a background of mistaken criminal policy.

He said that if local authorities have information regarding places, schedules, and modus operandi used by gunmen of criminal organizations to execute their rivals, the operations barely work for they make criminals move to other places.

“[Authorities] do not solve the [homicides] problem, they are just managing it; they are displacing the topic. But an operation in which 25 persons and the head of a band that has drugs and money is more spectacular. That’s what they calm us with,” he asserted.

The second reason for first-degree murders are disputes, with 218 victims. These crimes, according to the reports, are due mainly to alcohol intake, family problems, car accidents, or personal feuds.

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The third place is occupied by robbery, with 139 cases. Victims are murdered on public transports, at their homes, for resisting a robbery after leaving a bank, in businesses, and inside vehicles.

The SSC reports add that from the 1,512 victims, 1,064 were killed with firearms, 204 with edged weapons, 123 from beating, and 94 cases were unknown for they were “corpse finding.”

Another 25 cases were due to asphyxiation, 7 were calcined, and only one was run over. Most victims were men, with a total of 1,487, and 183 were women.

It highlights that there were also 231 victims under 25 years of age, of which 30 were minors, which shows the participation of young people in criminal activities, according to the police analysis.

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For experts, these data show that there exists proliferation in arms trafficking in Mexico City which directly contributes to the rise of first-degree murders or executions in the boroughs that have the highest figures.

Ramírez de Garay explained that the places of the executions are not random for gunmen but “very specific and with characteristics authorities have not paid attention to.”

He explained that there are hotspots in Mexico City where there is a bigger presence of drug dealing and that have not changed in the eight years of the study, such as the Cuauhtémoc and Venustiano Carranza boroughs joined by a point: Tepito.

The boroughs with more executions are Iztapalapa with 349 cases, Gustavo A. Madero with 256, Cuauhtémoc with 136 victims, and for the first time Álvaro Obregón with 129 victims.

Meanwhile, the boroughs with less violent incidents were Cuajimalpa with 14 and Milpa Alta with 15.

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Ex-convicts
The analysis on first-degree murders presented by SSC revealed that 20% of the victims were ex-convicts, all of them were once imprisoned for crimes that go from drug dealing to extortion, robbery, and even homicide.

The most problematic areas are the Morelos neighborhood and downtown Mexico City, were reports for extortions are on the rise mainly among merchants.

Failed reintegration
Criminal lawyer by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Alejandro Mendiola said that the high index of ex-convicts murders is due to the lack of preventive attention authorities for there is no real monitoring of all those who leave prisons.

He expressed that releases increased with the entrance of the new crime reform since one of the benefits of it obliges those accused of crimes only to go sign a paper and not to be jailed, but rarely do authorities follow up the actions of the former convicts.

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“How many times have we known through the news that a criminal is arrested once again or even murdered because he only appeared once a month before the judge. That is because there is no monitoring or interest from the authorities in prevention matters; when someone leaves prison, he usually goes back to crime and is not correctly reintegrated into society,” he stressed.

“Therefore we find another failure in the judicial system: there is no follow up to their behavior; they leave prison and no one really cares if they have an honest job or if they went back to crime. That is a big part of the problem we have,” said the expert in an interview with EL UNIVERSAL.

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