Looting sprees threaten Mexico disguised as coronavirus fears

Authorities have tried to reassure residents that this is not the beginning of a wave of looting, saying the supply of food and medicine is guaranteed

Looting sprees threaten Mexico disguised as coronavirus fears
On Tuesday, 10 people were arrested in Mexico City for trying to rob shops – Photo: Patricia Morales/EL UNIVERSAL
English 26/03/2020 13:09 Reuters Mexico City Raúl Cortés Fernández, Diego Ore, Anthony Esposito, Cynthia Osterman & Tom Hogue/REUTERS Actualizada 18:18
Guardando favorito...

Leer en español

On Wednesday, Mexicans feared measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak would lead to widespread looting after criminals robbed stores that were closed and posted calls on social media for people to ransack businesses.

On Tuesday night, police in Mexico City arrested 10 people who tried to rob shops in four neighborhoods, the city’s Security Ministry said in a statement.

Authorities have tried to reassure residents that this is not the beginning of a wave of looting, saying the supply of food and medicine is guaranteed.

Recommended: COVID-19 Live Updates: confirmed coronavirus cases in Mexico

On Wednesday, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said at a news conference that authorities are conducting “permanent surveillance of social networks in case there are any calls” to loot and explained that the thieves targeting shops to steal televisions and the like “has nothing to do with” poverty.

That did little to assuage the fears of some shopkeepers as criminals organized heists on social networks and instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp.

“In the middle of this pandemic in Mexico, it’s incredible people are still organizing looting,” a shop owner in the State of Mexico, which neighbors capital Mexico City, said online.

Recommended: How will the business sector handle the COVID-19 pandemic?

“I ask authorities to be vigilant because many business owners are afraid of being attacked by looters.”

On Tuesday, the Public Security Ministry of the State of Mexico said that it detected 29 Facebook accounts inciting residents to ransack stores that had closed due to the pandemic.

As of March 25, in Mexico, the outbreak has infected 475 and killed six, prompting the federal government to suspend non-essential activities as of Thursday.

The head of the Public Security Ministry of the State of Mexico, Maribel Cervantes, told a local television station that the authority was coordinating with the Mexican retailers’ association ANTAD to beef up security.

Recommended: 18 million Mexican jobs are at risk due to the COVID-19 crisis

In the southeastern state of Quintana Roo, home to tourist hotspot Cancún, police chief Alberto Capella took to Twitter to warn alleged looters plotting on WhatsApp that authorities were onto their scheme.

“We are watching you, along with the other members of your WhatsApp chat. After identifying you, we will charge you,” Capella said, directing his message to the administrator of the group.

Mexico City’s Citizen Security Ministry published a series of recommendations for people to detect and denounce posts in social networks inviting to looting.

Some of the recommendations include: not sharing this kind of posts; verify the source and the profile that publishes it; check information with official sources; denounce the posts through the corresponding tools in social networks as well as the suspicious profiles, as inappropriate content; and report any case to Mexico’s cyber police via e-mail  ([email protected]) or by phone (5242510 Ext 5086).

Recommended: Mexico's army will deploy 16,750 members to control the COVID-19 crisis

mp
 

Guardando favorito...
 

Noticias según tus intereses