Mexico: Police No Better Than Criminals

14 09 2008

As I reported here recently, Mexicans are saying “Enough is Enough” but as The Times (UK) recently reported, they cannot reply on the police to help solve the recent crime wave. In many cases the corrupt police force are the perpetrators of the crimes and are also protecting drug related criminal gangs.

In Mexico it is said that 99% of crimes go unsolved and the kidnapping rate is worse than in Iraq. One detective interviewed in the article indicates why, “We work with limitations,” he said. “You don’t do your job, you just chill out, you take your salary, and you avoid trouble as best you can. Sometimes I get depressed when I think about the situation in Mexico.”

Trouble often comes in the form of officers from rival police departments — there are said to be at least 1,600 of them in Mexico — many of which provide protection to drug cartels or run their own criminal operations. If Mr Gomez raided a “narco store” in the wrong part of town, he would risk being shot or thrown in jail by one of his fellow detectives. Jail can be worse than death so instead Mr Gomez does nothing.

The upshot of police corruption in Mexico has been in an almost total collapse of law and order in recent months, a terrifying state of affairs that seems to have gone largely unnoticed north of the border in the US, even though many Mexicans blame Americans for the troubles. Americans bought the drugs that funded the drugs cartels, which paid off the police, they said. Americans also supplied the weapons.

The detective interviewed described the police being arrogant”and said, “they never follow the rules, they torture people, they act with impunity. The corruption is huge. We have to change everything, from the highest level down. It’s going to be difficult.”