Things That Matter

New Statistics Show A Sharp Decline In Violent Crimes In Sinaloa, Mexico

Despite reports in recent months concerning violence, Sinaloa officials revealed positive news this week that show a drop in homicide rates. At a press conference on Tuesday, Sinaloa Public Security chief Cristóbal Castañeda Camarillo told reporters that the number of homicides in the Mexican state was down 17 percent last year compared to 2018, 937 murders were recorded in 2019. In comparison to the beginning of the decade, there has been a 58 percent overall drop in homicides, 2,250 in 2010. 

According to Mexican officials, these huge declines can be credited to coordination between all three levels of government, state and municipal police forces in Sinaloa and the armed forces. Led by a plan by Governor Quirino Ordaz Coppel’s office, the forces worked together in being part of a “historic decrease” in not only overall homicide rates but taking down a range of other crimes in Sinaloa over the last 10 years. 

Homicide rates aren’t the only thing dropping in Sinaloa. Mexican officials say robberies, car thefts, and kidnappings have also seen declines since 2010. 

Mexican officials have praised the efforts of authorities that have contributed to these yearly declines in overall violence in Sinaloa since the start of the decade. The numbers show things are moving in the right direction as vehicle theft dropped 55 percent to 4,222 cases last year in comparison to 9,401 cases in 2010. In regards to declines from 2018 and 2019, vehicle theft dropped 28 percent, robberies fell 7 percent to 986 cases and kidnappings decreased by 25 percent to nine cases.

While homicide rates have continued to drop in Sinaloa, there is no doubt that drug cartels still have power in the region. One with the most notoriety is Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s old cartel group that still wields much power.

These new numbers paint a different picture than what many still believe is a dangerous region. If there was any clearer evidence that shows that it came back in October when the Sinaloa Cartel responded retaliated to an operation to capture Ovidio Guzmán López, the son of notorious drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. The incident left 13 people dead when the Sinaloa cartel seized control of the northern city of Culiacan in what was a successful effort to force the release of Guzmán’s son.

Iván Archivaldo Guzmán, another one of El Chapo’s son, was behind these efforts to stop the arrest of his brother. Guzmán López was being extradited on a request from Washington when law enforcement was met with an attack from armed cartel members. The incident came to a close when Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador made the decision to release Guzmán López, a move he said was made to save lives. 

That decision was widely criticized by many that had pointed to the Mexican government as basically giving in to organized crime, reinforcing the notion that cartels still have much power in the country. While data shows there has been improvement since the days of Guzmán overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Sinaloa Cartel, there is still work to be done. 

Many see these new released numbers in a different lens given they were released on the same day that President López Obrador claimed that ‘El Chapo’ once had “the same power” like his predecessors.

On the same day that Castañeda Camarillo’s report was released, President López Obrador made comments that raised some eyebrows. In a video message from the city of Palenque last week, he recapped his administration’s triumphs and some of the continued challenges ahead. He noted that much of the corruption involved from previous administrations was gone.  

“There was a time when Guzmán had the same power or had the influence that the then-president had … because there had been a conspiracy and that made it difficult to punish those who committed crimes. That has already become history, gone to the garbage dump of history. That will never occur.” López Obrador said.

But while issues like corruption seem to be fading in Mexico, violence is still prevalent and the number show it. The country is still on track to see nearly 35,000 homicides in 2019, which would break last year’s record of 33,341. While there have been declines in violence in once dangerous states like Sinaloa, there is no denying that Mexico still has a long way to go. 

READ: Mexico’s President AMLO Just Said ‘El Chapo’ Had As Much Power As The President And That’s A Big Deal

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A 1-Year-Old Was Shot In The Head By Houston Police, Now He’s Fighting For His Life

Things That Matter

A 1-Year-Old Was Shot In The Head By Houston Police, Now He’s Fighting For His Life

MARK FELIX / Getty

Updated March 24, 2021.

The police of Houston are under fire again after it was revealed that a 1-year-old boy was shot in the head by an officer earlier this month. The tragic incident happened on March 3.

At the time Daisha Smalls was at a gas station filling up her car when she saw police cars and sirens.

According to Smalls, she was sitting inside of her car when a man approached her and told her to get out of her car.

At the time of the attempted hijacking, Smalls’ son Legend, was in the backseat.

“I wouldn’t give him my car because I let him know that I have a child in my car and that I would not leave my car without my son,” Smalls explained. The man then pushed his way into the car and attempted to hijack the vehicle.  

Police shot into Smalls’ car and killed the suspect who’d forced his way onto her lap. The police also injured her son Legend.

The 1-year-old was struck in the head with a bullet.

“I was just scared for my son’s life,” Smalls explained in a recent interview. Smalls went onto share that her son “didn’t deserve to be shot, especially not by the police.” According to reports, doctors removed part of Legend’s skull to make space for brain swelling. They were able to remove the bullet but small fragments from the bullet remain.

“He’s had multiple seizures, over 10 seizures, he’s still fighting for his life,” he explained.

Antonio Romanucci, co-counsel to Smalls’ lawyer said they are still investigating the incident but that the Houston police “can anticipate a lawsuit being filed shortly.”

Earlier this month, Houston Police Department Executive Assistant Chief Troy Finner claimed that Smalls was not in the car at the time of the hijacking. The hijacker was 30 and the suspect of two armed robberies. Police told him to drop his weapon and when he refused an officer fired several shots at him. The man died at the scene.

Finner claimed that the police officer was unaware that Legend was in the car. 

“Fearing for the mother’s safety, one of our officers discharged his duty weapon, fatally striking the suspect,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said in a statement shared to Twitter. “Sadly, baby Legend was also struck. Officers at the scene immediately rendered first aid to Legend… We are hoping and praying for the full and speedy recovery of little one-year-old Legend Smalls.”

Small’s attorney, Ben Crump explained that the clerk at the gas station told ABC13 that there is a surveillance video of the shooting.

“Why would they shoot knowing she was in the car? Not knowing who else was in the car. There could have been children, there could’ve been others in the car, but they shot,” Crump explained. “Regrettably and tragically, little Legend will live the rest of his life with the consequences of their decision to shoot into his mama’s car even though they knew she was in there.”

The attorney to Smalls, who has disputed police accounts that she was out of the car when the shooting began, has said that they expect to file a lawsuit in regards to the incident.

“Were the actions of the Houston Police Department both objective and reasonable under the circumstances?”Romanucci commented at a recent news conference according to The New York Times. “Clearly the answer is no.”

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Armed Police In Tulum Arrested A Gay Couple For Allegedly Kissing On The Beach

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Armed Police In Tulum Arrested A Gay Couple For Allegedly Kissing On The Beach

Noti Tolum / Facebook

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Mexico has remained a popular tourist destination as people seek out places with fewer restrictions. However, Mexico’s popular beach destination of Tulum apparently still has some restrictions – for LGBTQ folks – that the police are quick to enforce.

A Canadian couple was briefly detained by police for allegedly kissing on the beach.

Police in the popular resort town of Tulum, about 90-minutes south of Cancun, briefly arrested a gay couple for kissing in public on a beach, alleging that the couple was not allowed to kiss in public because children were present.

According to local media reports, police said they were reacting to a report by someone else on the beach who had claimed that the men were “committing immoral acts.”

The couple were handcuffed together and ordered in to the back of a patrol vehicle until a crowd of onlookers formed and began to shout disapprovingly at police after one of the men explained to the crowd why they were being detained.

Outraged bystanders gathered around the couple and urged the police to let the men go.

The crowd began shouting in support of the couple, calling the actions homophobic and demanding the couple’s release.

The pressure from the crowd apparently prompted officers to release the men after a few minutes of dialogue. The presence of Escalante herself might also have been a factor.

In response to the arrest, Quintana Roo Tulum Police said: ‘We are an inclusive and impartial police both for residents and tourists who visit the state of Quintana Roo. So no abuse of authority will be tolerated.’

Video of the incident quickly went viral on social media with outrage being the common reaction.

Video and photos of the arrest went viral after on social media accounts, including that of local politician Maritza Escalante Morales, who denounced the actions of the officers. Escalante happened to be at the beach with her family when she noticed the officers approach the couple, she said, and joined the crowd to advocate for the couple’s release.

“I want to file a PUBLIC COMPLAINT, because the treatment and type of authorities we have in our municipality is inexcusable. Yesterday while I was on the beach with my family, we noticed around 4:30 that 2 police squads in their ATVs approached a group of young foreigners. After about 20 minutes, a patrol arrived and proceeded to arrest them with handcuffs,” she explained on TikTok.

“The policemen were VIOLENT,” Morales added, “and gave arguments such as ‘there are families and children and they cannot be seeing this. I am FURIOUS because it is not possible that in the XXI century this type of oppression against the LGBT+ community continues. We all deserve the same treatment, and appropriate sanctions must be applied to these authorities.”

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