Astonished, appalled and unfortunate are some of the adjectives the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce leader used to describe the latest Mexican crime figures.
The leader said the recent crime report is alarming. A security analyst who monitors the violence in Mexico said he agrees.
It seems like not one week goes by without hearing about some sort of violence across the border in Tamaulipas. The homicide rate in Mexico has reached its highest level in two years.
“It’s alarming in the sense that there's still very high levels of crime, criminal violence in Mexico, but it's not surprising,” said Tristan Reed, a Mexico security analyst for Stratfor, a global intelligence and advisory firm that is based out of Austin.
The crime report was put together by the executive secretary of the National Public Security System in Mexico. It shows, that in the first two months of this year, 3,158 were murdered in Mexico.
In February, there was an average of 55 homicides reported each day. That’s 11 percent more than during the same time in 2015.
“Despite government efforts, of a decade, to combat the high levels of criminal violence, they still have yet to find any real success,” Reed said. “Violence has dropped significantly since, you know, the peak of the drug wars in 2010 and 2011. But there still remains a persisting and very violent and criminal problem.”
Reed said the reason for the continuing violence remains the same.
“These individuals, who are continuing seeking to consolidate control over the criminal enterprises that exist in their areas, whether it's drug trafficking or rights to extortion or kidnappings, fuel theft,” Reed said. “There's plenty of enterprises, now, that just have surged from organized crime in Mexico, and it's still the same reason for violence.”
Cynthia Sakulenzki is the president and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She frequently monitors the violence in Mexico for her clients. She also gets feedback from non-members.
Sakulenzki said she can’t help but think the situation is out of control.
“I was astonished, as to the failure that has happened in Mexico,” she said. “Mexico was on a great path to getting everything or getting things better, in a better situation. The fact that the casualties have more than doubled is unbelievable.”
Sakulenzki said most people she hears back from no longer cross into Mexico because of the violence. They tell her they fear for their lives.
“A lot of people, as you probably know, do not and will not go into Mexico, even if they have businesses in Mexico,” Sakulenzki said. “They have their people that go and take care of things, and, you know, check, come back, give reports and that's so unfortunate. Mexico is such a beautiful country. I, myself, have not travelled into Mexico, into the interior of Mexico, which I would go once a year. There's just too many dangers.”
The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president said even in a family emergency, many people will not travel into Mexico. She said it’ll likely stay that way until there’s a major turnaround and crime statistics go down.
Security analyst Tristan Reed said the recent additional troop deployment in Tamaulipas should help cities like Reynosa. Soldier presence is known to cause a breakdown by keeping the drug cartels from carrying out long periods of violence.
Reed said crime remains a serious problem and encourages Rio Grande Valley residents to heed travel warnings or avoid crossing into Mexico altogether.
A travel alert remains in place for certain parts of Mexico. The latest warning was issued in mid-January by the U.S. Department of State. It warns U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling to those places due to threats to safety and security, posed by organized criminal groups in the country.
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