Mayor of Ciudad Juárez, Hector “Teto” Murguía said yesterday that the Federal Police would leave Juarez by middle September.
According to Murguía, Federal Police Commissioner, Facundo Rosas Rosas announced the decision to Juarez’s authorities during a meeting to analyze and review the strategies to fight crime in the city.
“The Federal Police Commissioner considered that the city is under control, therefore, the local police is prepared to guarantee the security of the municipality,” Murguía said through an official press release. As today, the Federal Police has not confirmed the information provided by Murguía.
As July of this year 1,239 people have been killed in Juarez, a number that doesn’t include 17 killed yesterday at the local detention center. According to local figures, crimes such as extortion and kidnapping are still widespread and affecting a big portion of the society, especially business owners. Besides that, the cleaning of the municipal police is still far away of being completed and stories about the involvement of police officers in criminal activities continue plaguing the front pages of local newspapers.
So, how come the municipal police force could be ready to confront organized crime by itself? Where are the indicators that show that they have had some kind of success in their strategies?
The rivalries between local police and federal police are a well-known story for many Juarenses. You probably remember the incident in which a federal police shot and killed one of Murguia’s bodyguards in January this year. After the incident, Murguía asked the Federal Police to withdraw from Juarez.
In a recent interview with El Paso Times, Juarez’s chief of police, Julián Leyzaola openly recognized the lack of understanding and coordination between federal and local police forces in fighting crime in Juarez. “They are intervening in areas that are my responsibility”, he said. “But in the end they will go soon”.
Yesterday, Leyzaola’s convoy was attacked allegedly by federal police officers, an incident that just fanned the flames between these two corporations.
It is unclear what would be the real reason for an anticipated withdraw of the Federal Police, but what seems to be clear is that Juarez is still in a very difficult situation and there is not a single indication yet that the local police is ready to take the reign and to guarantee the security of all the Juarenses.
And once again, the Juarenses are caught in the middle of politics and police rivalries.