Yesterday Zona Franca published an article detailing the statistics for law enforcement officers (LEO) killed in Guanajuato during current year. The main point being that more LEO have been killed so far in 2020 than all of 2019 in the state. During the month of September in the first 26 days a total of ten LEO were murdered, the most recent being Saturday in Yuriria.
From Zona Franca article on the incident:
An element of the municipal police of Yuriria was attacked and shot dead after leaving his shift and heading to the municipality of Valle de Santiago, where he had his home.
The policeman was intercepted and pursued by armed men, who on board a vehicle, chased him down the road and caught up with him at the height of the community of La Magdalena.
Upon arriving at the community, the armed men forced the policeman to get out of his vehicle, after which he was shot in the head.
Currently in Guanajuato a total of 74 LEOs have been murdered in the state. That makes it the deadliest state for LEOs with Mexico State being in second place with 34 killed for the year. Celaya currently leads as the municipality with the most killed, 21. Behind that is Silao with nine, Jerécuaro and León each have had five. Four in Irapuato as well as in Yuriria, with the least being in Apaseo el Grande and Cortazar who've had three.
The most recent being listed above in Yuriria on Saturday. A couple days before that in the municipality of Salamanca a LEO was playing American football in the early evening when armed men murdered him. The man was former director of public security in Moroleón and was once in charge of LEO training at the Salamanca Police Training Institute.
The organization that Zona Franca is getting all of this data from is called Causa en Común, translated Common Cause. Since 2018 they have been working with journalists focused on security issues to compile all the incidents of murdered LEOs. They provide an English summary which can be found here, listing their objective as:
Every police officer murdered should be a grievance to the state. Unfortunately, in Mexico most of these cases go unnoticed because of the government's and society's indolence. There is not even an official public record of these cases; the majority are known only because national or local media report them; again, the majority, not all.
Therefore, Causa en Común has integrated an hemerographic record of police officers killed throughout the country since 2018. This report is the result of a joint effort within a network of more than 30 activists and journalists.
Currently their data shows that from when they first started collection on January 1, 2018 up until the end of August 2020, at least 1,286 LEOs have been murdered in Mexico.
They have created maps for each year that display all the data. Unfortunately the incidents aren't geolocated but the medium makes it very easy to navigate. I have embedded the maps below for you to take a look.
What is also awesome is that they've included all the data in an
.xlsx file which is the file type that Microsoft Excel uses. If you don't have Microsoft Excel, no worries! Google Sheets is able to interpret this file format so all you need to do is upload it to your Google Drive and then open it in Google Sheets.
They're many scripts out there to convert this
.xlsx file into a
.csv file, one being the appropriately named xlsx2csv, which is a Python script. Once converted into a
.csv file the possibilities for analyst become endless.
How to interpret
The murdering of LEO is obviously worrisome and a trend upward even more so. Typically these incidents fall into two categories, targeted and untargeted. By untargeted I mean that things happen more by chance, wrong place wrong time. We will see law enforcement doing routine patrols and come under fire. On the other hand we have incidents where specific LEOs are targeted and killed.
Why are these specific LEOs being targeted? It would be easy to conclude that it is because of their position within the law enforcement agency (LEA) but I believe we have to think further than that. Not all of the LEOs that are killed hold positions of seniority. They could be targeted because they simply refused to look the other way.
I think it's also worth mentioning that even though unknown criminal actors are carrying out these assassinations, that doesn't mean they are necessarily the ones calling for them. Surely it is of benefit to rid incorruptible LEOs from the area, but it is also beneficial to corrupt LEOs as well. And being that those killed are not all in positions of seniority, one has to wonder who could be tipping off criminal actors to those who are incorruptible. Information that wouldn't typically be known to someone who is not working within the LEA.
This is not to spur some large conspiracy but more so to encourage thinking outside of the box and covering all the potential possibilities. It is well known that many of these criminal organizations wouldn't be able to operate nearly on the level they do without some collaboration from state actors(politicians and bureaucrats) or LEOs. We can also not forget that sometimes assassinations are merely the settling of personal spats and have nothing to do with the larger picture. Regardless, no matter how big or how small, it seems logical to conclude that any society will have trouble securing said society if the men and women protecting that society are being killed left and right with impunity. How is Guanajuato suppose to protect civilians when they can't even protect the protectors?