Teams of federal police officers are being drafted into tourist areas of Mexico in a bid to put the brake on drug gang turf wars and counter the negativity surrounding the country’s soaring crime and homicide rates.
Specifically, 5,000 officers are being deployed in the cities of Colima, Tecoman and Manzanillo in the state of Colima, as well as the tourist hubs of Cancun and Los Cabos.
The state of Colima experienced a murder rate of 94 per 100,000 last year – the highest in the country.
According to National Security Commissioner Renato Sales, the federal officers will work closely will local police forces to identify and detain known members of criminal gangs involved in turf wars following the deportation of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the former jefe of the Sinaloa Cartel, to the United States.
Sales said the cities chosen for additional policing are “key” strategic locations for criminal organizations.
Although President Enrique Peña Nieto refuses to acknowledge that Mexico is more dangerous than any other western nation, the record number of murders in 2017 – 29,000 – offers a different narrative.
He is also keen to rebut U.S. President’s Donald Trump’s tweet from last week – that Mexico is “now rated the number one most dangerous country in the world” – that sought to justify the case for building a border wall.
Most analysts in Mexico agree that with elections looming in just five months, Peña Nieto needs to show more decisive leadership on public security issues if his chosen successor, Antonio Meade, is to secure another six years in power for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).