By Eugenio Weigend
A video from one of the 2,000 cameras from a Center of Command C4 in the State of Jalisco, shows the kidnapping of Congressman Gabriel Gomez Michel and one of his staff. They were later found dead inside the car in the state of Zacatecas.
Local police from Tlaquepaque received the report of the incident almost immediately. After driving around without finding anything, the officers who responded the call, shrugged their shoulders and resumed their daily routine.
Even though C4 recorded the kidnapping, there was a lack of response from the Center of Command. Authorities later explained the lack of action was due to a monitoring failure. Only 20 people monitor the 2,000 security cameras installed throughout Jalisco. This means, that even if the cameras can record crimes, they will likely go unnoticed by the C4. The monitoring failure consists on the impossibility of 20 people to monitor effectively the images shown by 2,000 cameras.
Local police is going through intense criticism because they failed to follow investigation protocols after the initial report was made. Authorities attended the issue only after Gomez Michel’s wife reported him as missing later that night.
Failure in the monitoring system of C4 and the failure of police to follow investigation protocols are not exclusive to this case. This is how the system works: improvised, uncoordinated at best. Only this time, the victim belonged to one of the tiers of government itself, leaving the system feeling vulnerable and uneasy.
Jalisco is experiencing a drastic rise on crimes. When violence started to rise in Mexico in the past decade, the state of Jalisco remained in relative calm compared to states such as Tamaulipas and Michoacan. However, in the past year and a half, not even the increase in security spending of Jalisco's governor Jorge Aristoteles Sandoval Diaz has been able to stop the rising violence.
According to the Jalisco Institute of Forensic Sciences, 70 government officials have been killed in Jalisco since March of 2013 when the administration of Sandoval started. The victims include high ranking profiles such as mayors and heads of ministries, and military and police officers.
Cases like this are found in every neighborhood in Jalisco. This time, the public profile of the victim made this single crime resonate throughout all levels of government in Mexico. Congressman staring at his empty seat in San Lazaro might soon awaken to the gravity of the issue Mexico is facing. Kidnappings, extortions and homicides cannot continue to be part of Mexico’s collective present. In these tragic circumstances, we cannot afford to add “failure” to the response of security institutions.