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Citizens Grade Police and Military on Work

By: Patrick Ellis | Real Acapulco News - 12 January, 2011

(Acapulco, NA 12 January) The newspaper Novedades de Acapulco made an informal survey of several local citizens, asking them to rank their confidence in the various police forces on a scale of 1 to 10. Most gave the police a 5, which is an emphatic “F” in the scale used in Acapulco’s schools. Others were yet more severe. In a separate survey conducted last year, Guerrero was last among Mexico’s states in the willingness of citizens to call the police in the event of a crime or emergency.

On the other hand, many of those interviewed regarded the Army and Navy as more reliable in the struggles against organized crime. The difference is that the police are widely believed to have been infiltrated by the organized crime groups themselves, so that delinquents are generally tipped off when the police will be making a raid of any kind. Police salaries are generally low (around US$500 per month), which, it is said, leads officers to engage in petty corruption just to make ends meet. Drug groups have more difficulty in penetrating the military, at least at command levels, and the soldiers and sailors are less in need of extra money, being in a barracks environment.

Of the three main political parties, the PAN has been the only one in favor of using the military to fight organized crime and drug trafficking in Mexico. It is the rightist party of President Calderón. PAN politicians accuse the PRI (and to a lesser extent, the PRD) of having made “accommodations” with the drug gangs, which of course the other parties roundly deny. In spite of that, the PAN’s critics are heard to say that if the PRI (or PRD) could just get into power, the drug gangs could go back to “business as usual” and things would be calm again.

Those interviewed all reported anxieties about going out late at night in the poorer neighborhoods, where most of the gang violence takes place. The hours from midnight to five in the morning are thought to be especially perilous.

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