Monday, September 5, 2011

Rising Violence in Edomex

From Milenio:
Despite the fact that Mexico State authorities assured that the capture of Óscar Osvaldo García Montoya, El Compayito, leader of the criminal organization La mano con ojos, removed from society one of the "most dangerous gunmen in the country who would have done a great deal of harm", since then the number of executions [killings related to organized crime] has spiked in the cities bordering the DF.

According to the tally of Milenio, from July 1 to August 10, which is to say, 41 days, in the State of Mexico there were 37 executions.

Nevertheless, from August 11 (the day in which El Compayito was captured in Mexico City) to September 3, when the discovery of four corpses abandoned in the neighborhood of Santa María Chiconautla, in Ecatepec, was reported, there have been 46 executions in this period of 24 days.
This is too short of a time period to make definitive statements about the impact of capturing capos, but it, along with a number of other cases, does refute Alejandro Poiré's somewhat odd argument from earlier this year that arresting capos actually limits the violence. If I were in the Calderón government, I would concede the point that violence typically does go up in the short term, but try to pull the time horizon back as far as possible. The argument is that a sustained campaign against the Compayito's of the world will eventually lead to a safer Mexico, but we are talking a decade or more. In other words, it's not the arrest this capo or that one that will make a difference, but rather the continuing process of arresting capos that will eventually lead to lower levels of violence.

Of course, this being true is contingent on a number of other factors (principally, in my opinion, a vast improvement in the capacity of Mexico's institutions), and all of that probably wouldn't play too well with a public eager for some good news now. But it would be closer to the truth.

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