Mexican gov’t touts 21 pct. drop in homicides in Tijuana

The Secretary of National Defense (C), General Luis Cresencio Sandoval Gonzalez, speaks with the president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (left-behind), during a morning press conference on March 27, 2019, in the city of Tijuana, Mexico. EPA-EFE / Joebeth Terriquez

TIJUANA.- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was here Wednesday to highlight a 21 percent reduction in homicides in this border metropolis that sits next door to San Diego.

«A special joint operation between the army, the navy and the federal, state and municipal police was launched to address the emergency in Tijuana, and important progress has been made with a considerable decrease in homicides,» he told a press conference.

The administration’s weekly security meeting took place in Tijuana, which in recent months has suffered a wave of violence that motivated the Lopez Obrador government to send additional military and federal police units to the city at the beginning of 2019.

Murders in the border city have fallen from an average of 5.2 a day to 4 a day since the federal deployment began on Feb. 4, Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval said.

Before this special operation, 143 military personnel and 11 Federal Police officers operated in Tijuana.

Currently, there are more than 1,000 soldiers and marines and nearly 1,200 Federal Police patrolling the border city.

The independent Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice of Mexico said in a report earlier this month that Tijuana became the most violent city in the world in 2018, with 138.26 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Lopez Obrador also announced Wednesday that the commander and senior officials in charge of the National Guard will be named within a week, the constitutional reform creating this security force made up of police and soldiers having been published Tuesday in the Official Gazette.

«The personnel that are going to make up the National Guard will have good salaries: the police, the marines and the soldiers,» said the president, who added that «now the most important thing is going to be to guarantee public safety.»

Public Safety Secretary Alfonso Durazo said the country will be divided into 266 operational regions for the National Guard, and at least 155 of them are expected to be operational within three months.

He also reported that during this first year, the National Guard will be made up of 80,000 officers at a cost of up to 20 billion pesos ($1.05 billion).

Durazo also said that the second law regulating the role of the National Guard will be ready next week.

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