MEXICO CITY, (Reuters) – Mexico has increased security spending six-fold in the past five years but carjackings, kidnappings and other violent crime are rising steadily, an independent study showed yesterday.
Think tank Mexico Evalua said corruption and poor coordination between authorities had nullified the impact of higher spending, largely under President Felipe Calderon, who sent in the army to crush Mexico’s drug cartels in late 2006.
“Things are not improving,” Edna Jaime, director general of Mexico Evalua, told a news conference in Mexico City.
According to the think tank, Mexican public sector spending on security has leaped from an average of less than 20 billion pesos ($1.7 billion) annually in the first six years of the millennium to more than 120 billion in the last two.
In spite of added spending, data published by the think tank showed that violent robbery and car theft have risen steadily in the last six years.
Drug-related killings have accelerated in Mexico in the last few years, with a record 15,000 lives lost in 2010 alone, according to official data.
Eduardo Guerrero of consultancy Lantia Consultores, who worked on the study, said some of the extra cash was not even released by state governments because they were afraid it would end up in the hands of corrupt police working for criminals.
“It’s like throwing money down a hole,” he said.
Juan Pardinas of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO), said regional governments were failing to provide the state with enough information to tackle crime properly.
“The main crisis we’re seeing in Mexico is not the problem of public security, it’s the malfunctioning of Mexican federalism,” he said. “We’re not managing to coordinate at the different levels of government.”