New Tactics to Recent Armed Robberies
Along with the reorganization that follows every election and change of administration, police procedures are also being reevaluated in light of several armed robberies that have taken place in recent weeks. Members of the Community Security Committee were told of the reevaluation in a meeting held November 15.
The committee, which grew out of community response to the serial rapist’s attacks that occurred between October 2005 and July 2006, held its first meeting under the new city administration. Two people from the Foreign Affairs Department and two police officers, Primer Comandante and Subdirector Operativo, were present at the meeting. The new director of International Relations, Tourism and Economic Development, did not attend.
The police have responded to several recent armed robberies using new approaches, which include a special unit that targets gangs, drugs and weapons. So far, the police have confiscated 10 weapons of varying calibers. “Hot spots” have been designated for special police attention.
As always, the efforts of the police have been hampered by a lack of working vehicles—the results of a shortage of funds for repairs.
An Officer noted that he had been recruited from Mexico City specifically to root out police corruption. A recent unannounced drug test of all officers found only one case of drug use, compared to five or six in most past tests.
Many instances of crime have complex roots, the officers noted, such as, the armed robbery of the night watchman at the Luciérnega construction site (where the SuperGigante and Office Depot are being built). Disgruntled employees who had been discharged chose to exact compensation from the company by stealing tools.
Asked whether police have the right to stop anyone they deem suspicious on the streets and search them for weapons and drugs, the officers said they did, but very often relatives of those who are searched then file human relations complaints against the police.
Noncitizens are not allowed to possess any kind of gun, and Mexican citizens can own a gun up to a .38 caliber Special for home protection. Only in very rare cases are permits issued for other uses, such as hunting. Guns cannot be carried in a car or on a person, and the guns must be registered. But, according to the officers, that does not mean that there are not unregistered guns circulating, indicating the need for the special units aimed at finding such guns.
Recently, 5,000 feet of copper wire was stripped from Parque Juárez, at a cost to Amigos del Parque of 3,200 pesos. In response, an officer on an electric golf cart now patrols continuously inside and around the park.
During the transition to the new administration, channels of communication have to be reestablished, including procedures for informing the foreign community of news, committee members asserted.
The police representatives noted that local cable television has been utilized in several crime investigations lately, including televising the photo of a former electric company employee who was illegally soliciting payments. With community help, he was caught quickly.
The committee also asked about the Neighborhood Watch program and was assured that the police department will be coordinating that program again soon. Progress had been stalled during the change in administrations.
The best phone number to call for any kind of emergency is still 066, although 152-0022 can also be used. For emergencies requiring direct and immediate contact with the police commander, call 152-2890.
The police officers were asked to ensure that the person hired as the police liaison to the foreign community be given a 24/7 cell phone, and that person’s number and name be publicized to the foreign community.
Foreign affairs staffers were also asked to see whether the list of five bilingual city employees available to help non-Spanish speakers could be revived and circulated to all city offices.
The phone numbers for the foreign affairs office are 120-4528 and 120-4529. The office is on the first floor of the new municipal building.
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