Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Findings from Study of Extortion In Juarez: 760 Per Day

Norte reports details from a presentation by Carlos Mendoza Mora on extortion in Cd. Juárez given yesterday at a conference on public security convened by Coparmex, the Mexican Employers Association. Mendoza made the presentation on behalf of MUD, (Mexico United Against Delinquency), a national association.

Mendoza estimated that in 2009 there were more than 270,000 extortion attempts in Juárez, about 760 per day. Forty cases were reported to authorities during the entire year, a commentary on the trust the public has in police authorities, who have been implicated frequently in extortion rings.

In all of Mexico there were about 6179 extortion attempts each day (annual total of 2,255,334), and a total of 61 cases reported to authorities during the entire year. Thus, if these figures are in the ballpark, about one in eight extortion attempts made nationally are made in Juárez.

Mendoza estimated that about 80 percent of all cases result in payoffs, and he estimates that the average payoff in Juárez was $17,800 pesos (about $1369 U.S.).

Last year the Public Security budget for the state of Chihuahua was about $40 million, for a state population of about 3.5 million. In contrast New Mexico's budget for the Department of Public Safety was over $99 million in 2008 for a population of 2 million.

I'm not sure how Mr. Mendoza calculated these numbers, but they don't seem unreasonable. More than ten thousand businesses closed down in Juárez during the past two years, largely because of extortion threats and at the moment about one quarter of the commercial real estate is vacant.

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