By MARK LORENZANA
In the last year, complaints for the crime of extortion increased in most of the boroughs in Mexico City.
In 2020 there were 54 complaints filed at the Cuauhtémoc Mayor’s Office, but by 2021 the complaints grew to 73. According to data from the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP), from January to August of this year there had already been 42.
In the borough of Coyoacán, complaints of extortion increased from 14 to 25 between 2020 and 2021; in Iztapalapa, they grew from 64 to 79; in Miguel Hidalgo from 19 to 43 and in Álvaro Obregón from 19 to 30.
In Gustavo A. Madero, complaints grew from 51 to 77; in Tlalpan from 20 to 36, while in Tláhuac they soared from 5 to 21. So far this year, Xochimilco had already logged 15 complaints; in 2021 and 2020, there were 12 and 4 documented complaints, respectively.
The Benito Juárez Mayor’s Office, on the other hand, had already logged 14 complaints of extortion this year, as opposed to 23 total in 2020 and 23 last year.
The extortion attempts, according to a report by Mexican daily newspaper Reforma, are mainly done by phone, but there have also been cases wherein criminals have allegedly gone to homes and commercial establishments to commit the crime.
The extortionists use different methods that can range from what is known as “La Patrona” — which takes advantage of domestic workers who are duped to deliver money to criminals under false pretenses that their employer has an emergency — to threats of kidnapped relatives or family members, or even death threats.
One of the most common, however, is where the extortionists present themselves as members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
For instance, residents of Colonia Narvarte, an area in the borough of Benito Juárez, have reported receiving two to three phone calls in one week alone from unknown individuals demanding money, who claim to belong to criminal groups.
César Barrientos, director of Citizen Security at the Benito Juárez Mayor’s Office, explained that every day the Mayor’s Command Center attends to two to three complaints from residents asking for help due to phone calls from alleged extortionists.