At the end of 2000, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was elected as a mayor of Mexico City. During this period, a massive crime rate was widespread in the city. The national capital's general crime wave from 1995 to 1998 had almost tripled. Lopez Obrador was aware that getting back the streets from lawbreakers would need a new methodology; therefore, he brought in Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, a proficient political leader, to lead the Federal Districts Public Security Secretariat. Jointly they established new techniques that could record, map, and examine crime and bring about better preventive policing plans and proper allocation of police resources (Juarez 422).
Additionally, Ebrard appointed a panel to build a neighborhood police program, professionalize the police, enhance police-citizen relationships, and create Community Protection Units. In spite of sudden transitions of leadership at the public security secretariat years later, Mexico had the greater capability to fight crime and exceptional political rule over high-crime regions of the city, thus laying the basis for other public security reforms (Uildriks 109).
Causes of Police Reform in Mexico (why did it happen, who were the principal actors, what were the motivation for the police reform in Mexico, what were the factors that help explain police reform in Mexico
In the late 1990s, Mexico stood out among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development members for intense robberies. Daily life in Mexico's capital involved the ever-increasing murders, armed robberies, assaults, and threats of kidnappings (Uildriks 107).
Even though insecurity had overwhelmed Mexico for years, the 1990s reported a rise in crime rates. Between 1990 and 1996, registered rates of extortion, fraud, property damage, and robbery in Mexico doubled from 1,059.0 cases per 100,000citizens to 2,434.3, and the robberies percentage including violence climbed (Sanchez et al. 92). The trend deteriorated from 1995 to 1998, as the overall crime rate almost tripled. Later in the decade, the citizens were experiencing the highest insecurity levels in the country.
In December 2000, the Mexicos residents voted for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as the new mayor. He managed to take control of the Mexico Police and to embark upon crime urgencies for his administration. Lopez Obrador publicly admitted that the city's declining public security would lower the government's control of Mexico City itself and that managing the situation was vital to the future of his minority party.Lopez Obrador caught on to the idea that in order to have greater political control of the city as well as to have a political future for the left, he needed to engage on security issues, Professor Colegio de Mexico and Arturo Alvarado policing expert said (Wayne 87). However, the initial advancement of security reforms deteriorated; when Leonel Godoy Rangel, Public Security Secretariat head, stepped down to join the Michoacan's state government.
In 2002, Lopez Obrador set his reform plan back on track when he selected Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, an esteemed former political opponent, to be in charge of the district's public security secretariat. [Lopez Obrador] needed someone with political leadership [skills], Ebrard said (Rogers 113) after his appointment as public security secretary.
Dealing with the rising crime rates and reforming the Mexico City's police would pose immense challenges to Ebrard that had overwhelmed other aspiring reformers. In 1998, Rodolfo Debernardi, the city's police chief had stepped down after just a year in office, declaring that the person able to handle the Mexico City's crime issues had yet to be born (5).
Law enforcement opinions by Lopez Obrad or played a significant role in his administration proposal, referred to as General Plan for Development of Mexico City 20012006. The manifesto acknowledged low levels of citizen contribution in the prevention of crime and lack of efficient preventive policing as primary challenges. It also emphasized the little technical capability of the police and the necessity for advanced monitoring techniques to combat crime (Lopez-Montiel 86).
The obligation for handling Mexico City escalating crime rates fell mainly to the local police. Regardless of approximately 900034,000 preventive police; 40,000 back-up police who safeguarded the airport, official buildings, and other specific sites; and 15,000 banking police -it was no small undertaking. In 2000, Mexico was the residence of more than 8.6 million people in 1,470 square kilometers, with an extra 10 million residing in its greater metropolitan region. The proportion of preventive police per 100,000 inhabitants was lesser than it was in the New York City, and the preventive police service patrolled a geographic area just about twice as large (Lopez-Montiel 87).
Under the public security secretariat aegis, Mexicos preventive police dealt with crimes in progress, responded to emergencies, and patrolled neighborhoods. Nonetheless, different divisions of the city government dealt with other policing functions. Under the distinct from the attorney general administration, the judicial policeapproximately3500 officers had the authority to carry out investigations and build lawful cases against organizations and individuals (Botello 65). Public corruption and drug trafficking cases were handled by the nation's federal police services.
The preventive police were poorly equipped to tackle the growing insecurity efficiently. Minimal accountability mechanisms, lack of performance-based progression, poor training, and disorganization denoted there were few motivations for police officers to work honestly and efficiently. Even though the monthly payment for recruits in 2000 was about 4,000 pesos (US$415) (Botello 61), police officers often did side jobs or complemented their earnings through bribes to sustain their households. [The low salary] makes the police susceptible to crime because people are beholden to who pays them the best, said Joel Ortega (Flannery 23). Joel gave Lopez Obrador advice on public safety and later became public security secretary. Mexico City police scholarly examination published in 2000 discovered that recruits mostly joined the police for the money in spite of low official incomes.
Extensive insights of police corruption lead to a tense and frequently unfriendly association between Mexico City police and the residents, predominantly in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. A survey completed in 1999 by the chapter of Transparency International of Mexico discovered that 90% of Mexico plaintiffs had little trust in the police. The elevated level of mistrust prevented high-quality aspirants from enrolling the preventive police and abruptly reduced public cooperation level needed for effectual community policing (Lopez-Montiel 89).
Additionally, the police did not have the systems for gathering necessary information about crimes, for instance, the socio-demographic, descriptions of alleged criminals and fatalities, nor did they have the aptitude to explore the information. The deficit was to some extent was the lack of technology since numerous police stations were short of computer capacity. However, the broader issue was administrative: the police officers lacked a focal point for gathering and examining the daily crime data (Lopez-Montiel 88).
To employ operational police reform in Mexico, Ebrard required a comprehensive security plan that had strong support both from Mexico's influential business interests and in the administration of Lopez Obrador. Additionally, he had to recruit a reliable and high-performing team that would assist him transform the preventive police to a more operational law enforcement body.
Initially, Ebrard explored Mexico for a new plan but did not discover what he was seeking. The people who wrote or proposed things about security, they are lawyers, he said. The police never wrote books about policing, management of the police, or problems with the police. There was not even one text about the experience of the police in Mexico City (Smith 133).
Ebrard in conjunction with his panel looked abroad, expecting to gather from the experiences of states tackling similar security and policing challenges-New York Palermo, Bogota, and Italy. Those consultations and the internal evaluation by the secretariat generated a plan that addressed accountability, information gathering, smaller and more efficient police units, and cooperative relationships between citizens and police. Lopez Obrador's vicious commitment to public security paved the way for various modifications Ebrard had in mind. Right away after he resumed office, Lopez Obrador started off daily, early-morning cabinet meetings on public security with Ebrard, the government's secretary, attorney general of Mexico, mayor's top legal adviser, and the prison's director (Haas et al 115).
As stated by Ortega, who prearranged the cabinet meetings all through 200304, the meetings often addressed the daily public security progress and the previous days' crime details. We discussed the events of the night before, he said. We sorted through them to find relevant events. If we identified something relevant, we separated it out in order to follow up on it. That's paramount (Wayne 2007). He highlighted that Lopez Obrador at all times led the security cabinet meetings, giving him a chance to examine the daily advancement of reform personally. He was always here, and it was characteristic of him to give instructions directly, Ortega said of the mayor's active role in the cabinet meetings. He always assigned work (Juarez 422).
According to Ebrard, the cabinet meetings also provided an opportunity to recruit other government organizations in the effort to cope with the security problem in Mexico. If you have a cabinet meeting if you want to talk about safety issues, 22 agencies are thinking, Well, this meeting is not about us,' he said. We tried to involve other agencies to think about safety. We said, You can do something to help safety because safety is not a police issue; it's a government issue (Tello 22-3). That consistent and intense political dedication from the uppermost level of government was essential to the assessment and monitoring of advancement and to make sure that the whole administration gathered together for the reform effort. The security meetings were envisioned to send a signal from highest police officials to police officers patrolling the streets that the mayor's top priority was public security reform.
Ebrard realized was aware that preventive police reorganization would entail handling ground rules such as accountability. We didn't have computers, so we could not verify every day who is where, who is responsible for what, what's your mission, which mission do you have every day, are you successful or not? he said (Uildriks 90).
Ebrard emphasized that more delicate and complex issues credibility and public trust were similarly significant. It's not possible to win a battle against organized crime in the city if you have your force isolated in front of society, Ebrard said (Diane 76), denoting Mexico's history of mistrust and animosity between the preventive police and the citizens. The first thing to do was to put the police force on the public scene, define their mission and try to build a bridge between the community and the police. Otherwise, there is no possible solution. This was the starting point of the strategy by 2002 (Botelo 70).
Ebrard and Lopez Obrador reached out to the commercial community, an unlikely collaborator for the administration of left-wing PRD, to initiate chipping away the distrust. Before the appointment of Ebrard, the mayor had already begun building associations with influential Mexican society members. These were done in order to sec...
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