• Connect with us on Linkedin

bannerautodenfensasmexico7

Well-armed vigilantes in Mexico's Michoacan state have helped authorities dismantle a powerful criminal organization, but now the government may have a more difficult task: keeping Michoacan safe from the vigilantes and rival criminal groups. Read More
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Calls Grow for Legal Recognition of Vigilantes in Mexican State

Vigilante groups in Guerrero, Mexico Vigilante groups in Guerrero, Mexico

Some officials are calling for the legal recognition of vigilante groups active in the southwest Mexican state of Guerrero, suggesting increasing frustration with the local police and government's tactics to battle organized crime.

Linkedin
Google +

Some 800 civilians in the so-called "Costa Chica" area of Guerrero have taken up arms to defend themselves against criminal gangs operating in the area, citing the ineffectiveness of local police forces, reported the AFP.

Speaking earlier this week, the governor of Guerrero, Angel Aguirre Rivero, acknowledged there is good reason for self-defense groups to exist, and said he wanted to propose a decree that would define how these "community police" are considered under the law. If grassroots self-defense groups are trained in human rights and other civil procedures, they could be integrated into the regular community police force, the governor added.

This idea has been gaining traction over the past two weeks. The mayor of San Marcos, Guerrero, declared, "It is right that community policing be legalized ... because [these groups] generate trust in society." The president of Guerrero state Congress' Justice Commission has also come out in support of the idea, stating, "We can't condemn anybody for defending ... their community," according to Milenio.

Mexico's interior minister, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, has rejected the idea of giving these groups legal recognition, saying, "they cannot take justice into their own hands, not in this country." Osorio met with Aguirre on January 23 to discuss the issue, although few details have been reported on the outcome of the meeting.

InSight Crime Analysis

These vigilante groups are typically organized due to local communities' frustration with the inability of the local police to fight crime. Such groups have sprouted across Mexico in recent years. Two self-defense forces appeared in the embattled state of Michoacan, most notably in the indigenous community of Cheran. In 2011, Guerrero reported the presence of civilian armed groups in the town of San Luis Acatlan.

The fact that Guerrero's vigilante groups are gaining some support from officials points to increased frustration with the federal government's ability to secure smaller, rural communities. By mentioning the possibility that these grassroots self-defense groups could be formally integrated into the local police, Guerrero's governor highlighted the lack of an effective police force in the area. Municipal and state police across Mexico are widely regarded as corrupt and outgunned by criminal groups, with many arrested for links to organized crime.

It remains to be seen whether the rhetoric will translate into a concrete campaign to win legal recognition for vigilante groups. So far, the federal government appears to have responded to the complaints from Guerrero by ordering a security surge to Costa Chica.

Linkedin
Google +

---

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

InSight Crime Search

The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas

InSight Crime Social

facebooktwittergooglelinkedin

InSight Crime Special Series

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

See entire series »

 

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill

Uruguay: Marijuana, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug.

See entire series »

El Salvador's Gang Truce

El Salvador's Gang Truce

The truce between El Salvador's two largest gangs -- the MS-13 and the Barrio 18 -- opens up new possibilities in how to deal with

See entire series »

Juarez After The War

Juarez After The War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality.

See entire series »

The Zetas And The Battle For Monterrey

The Zetas and the Battle for Monterrey

InSight Crime delves into the Zetas' battle for Mexico’s industrial capital, Monterrey, getting to the essence of a criminal gang that defies easy definition.

See entire series »

Slavery in Latin America

Slavery in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into modern slavery, looking at how Latin America’s criminal groups traffic human beings and force them to work as slaves.

See entire series »

FARC, Peace and Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is being dangled before Colombia. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, the enemies of the negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the process are high.

See entire series »

Displacement in Latin America

Displacement in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into the new face of displacement in Latin America, where organized criminal groups are expanding and forcing people to flee.

See entire series »

Target: Migrants

Target: Migrants

The growth of organized crime in Mexico and Central America has led to an increase in violence and insecurity across the region, posing challenges to citizens, public security forces, and travelers.

See entire series »

Zetas in Guatemala

The Zetas in Guatemala

Mexico's Zetas have taken Guatemala by storm, and they are testing this country and the rest of the region: fail this test, and Central America sinks deeper into the abyss.

See entire series »

Most Read

Guyana May be Placed on Money Laundering Blacklist Amid Rise in Organized Crime

Guyana May be Placed on Money Laundering Blacklist Amid Rise in Organized Crime

Guyana is at risk of being placed on an international money laundering black list after the government failed to pass relevant legislation, even as organized crime in this remote South American nation is on the...

Read more

HSBC, Shell Implicated in Argentina Money Laundering Scandal

HSBC, Shell Implicated in Argentina Money Laundering Scandal

Authorities in Argentina have warned of possible money laundering by HSBC bank in a case involving Anglo-Dutch oil and gas company Shell -- the latest in a long line of accusations of the bank's involvement in...

Read more

Are Venezuela Police 'Intelligent Patrols' Reducing Crime as Govt Claims?

Are Venezuela Police 'Intelligent Patrols' Reducing Crime as Govt Claims?

Authorities in Venezuela say the country's "Intelligent Patrolling" policing program has led to a nearly 18 percent drop in crime, but under-reporting of crime and the government's politicized use of statistics cast doubt over the...

Read more

IDRC9-01