Friday, March 01, 2013

GAO Says Mexican Drug War Spillover "Highly Under-reported"

An estimated 70,000 people have died in drug related violence since former Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared war on the country’s drug cartels in 2006. Up until recently, the violence seems to be contained in Mexico, but that may be changing according to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office to Congress, entitled "Southwest Border Security,." The report claims that it's virtually impossible to get valid numbers on stateside drug war violence and crime.

"FBI officials cautioned that drug cartel related crimes, such as kidnappings and home invasions, are highly underreported and are not captured in national crime statistics.

For example, law enforcement officials with whom we spoke stated that individuals who may have been assaulted or robbed in the course of drug trafficking and other illicit activities are hesitant to report their involvement to the police
"Law enforcement agencies have few efforts to track spillover crime. No common federal government definition of such crime exists, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) components, including those with a definition, either do not collect data to track spillover crime, or do not maintain such data that can be readily retrieved and analyzed.

Officials from the San Diego office of the California Highway Patrol stated that in 2012 their field office began tracking how often they respond to calls from CBP’s Office of Field Operations to investigate incidents at the port of entry.

However, the officials noted that the data could not be a measure for spillover crime because the incident may not always result in a crime or an arrest and may not be related to cartel activity or involve Mexican nationals.

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