Known for its warring drug cartels and most recently for its missing police chief, Nuevo Laredo is included in a new crime-fighting initiative announced this month by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Mexican authorities report the city’s murder rate last year stands at 84, many of them targeted hits and gruesome mutilations.
But Benjamin Galvan Gomez, the mayor of Nuevo Laredo, said his city as a whole now is plagued by a wave of armed robberies, carjackings, extortions and thefts.
Galvan (pictured) said the new president’s strategy will draw resources and expertise from all branches of government, but it won’t be a quick fix.
“The situation is difficult and complicated,” Galvan said. “It won’t be resolved in a day or two like we would want.”
He said for instance, a stronger social “infrastructure” would help young people and those in extreme poverty who may see a life of crime as a way out.
“Why? Because they have no other way to progress,” Galvan said.
The mayor said another problem has been an average of 200 immigrants deported daily by the U.S. who are stranded in Nuevo Laredo.
Despite the city’s efforts to help immigrants return to Mexico’s interior, Galvan said, “Many of them fall into the hands of criminals.”
Galvan said Nuevo Laredo’s police force consists of Mexican military, federal and state police.
However, he said he definitely would wants to someday see civilian police with safeguards against corruption, help restore security in Nuevo Laredo.
“The military is part of the solution,” Galvan said. “But it’s not everything.”