Now there's cargo theft

Cargo theft has entered into a downward spiral; we cannot keep postponing the implementation of measures to tackle this crime

Now there's cargo theft
Freight train - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 23/05/2018 09:07 Mexico City Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 09:07
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Besides the illicit profits, nothing encourages criminals more than knowing there is a minimum chance they will be caught or sentenced. When a crime is tackled effectively by authorities, it decreases its incidence but then other springs forth and another.

In recent years, we've seen how operations against drug trafficking have effectively cut the head of criminal gangs but we have also seen the emergence of smaller cells committing new crimes. From drug trafficking they have “evolved” to kidnapping, human trafficking, blackmail, fuel theft, and now, the theft of cargo transported by land.

To get a clear idea of the magnitude of the cargo theft problem we can take a look at the data published today by EL UNIVERSAL. From January to March there were 3,357 events of this kind, 108% more than those recorded for the same time period in 2016 and 65% more than in 2017, according to the Confederation of Industrial Chambers. The National Chamber of Iron and Steel Industry has also been affected by this crime; the organization reports that during the first fourth months of 2018 there were 3, 680 tonnes stolen, 10% more than for the same period of last year.

Cargo theft doesn't only hit the pockets of businessmen. The population is affected in at least two forms: first, suffering the merchandise shortage resulting from the theft of cargo supplying items to a certain region of the country and a price increase, given that transporters now have to charge for the risk of being robbed, which impacts end consumers to a certain extent.

In a highly communicated era, it seems incredible that we cannot use technology so authorities are able to know when tonnes of cargo have stopped on their way or have deviated from their original course as a consequence of a criminal activity.

It's necessary to have a quick response from law enforcement and here we have at least two scenarios: if we cannot fight crime then we are put in a situation where the viability of society is at risk, although it can be repaired with training and investing in equipment and technology. If this crime doesn't want to be tackled, the matter becomes more complicated; it would imply a likely case of authorities being in the pocket of criminal gangs and other corruption acts. Some of these scenarios are the roots of impunity.

Cargo theft has entered into a downward spiral. We cannot keep postponing the implementation of measures to contain it. The areas with highest risks have already been identified. Do we need more reasons to fight this crime?

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