Guns from U.S. partly fueling crime rise in Mexico; business group says

MEXICO CITY – One of the country’s main business organizations is concerned with rising violence and crime, and it blames part of the problem on guns flowing across the border from the United States.

“There’s no development without safety,” said Gustavo de Hoyos, president of the Mexican Employers Confederation.

Data from the Mexican government quoted by De Hoyos show an increase in homicides, extortions and violent thefts from businesses since President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office Dec. 1, 2018. The number of homicides – more than 17,000 – is a record, according to De Hoya.

From December through June, he said, almost 33,000 thefts with violence have been reported, meaning nearly 155 establishments are robbed each day.

From the first quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019, extortions increased almost 24%, and theft to businesses was up 16%.

De Hoyos said Mexican companies are spending more on security, but part of the problem stems from firearms coming from the United States.

According to the Associated Press, Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard recently announced an agreement with the United States for a joint operation to combat gun smuggling along the border. So far this year, seizures of assault rifles in Mexico are up 122%, AP said.

Ebrard said Mexico’s military will coordinate with U.S. authorities in five Mexican border cities: Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Matamoros.

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