Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat
With the increase of incidents of common crimes and the inaction from officials to fight against insecurity, citizens of Sonora and Morelos are beginning to organize themselves in order to confront criminals.
Members of 11 citizen groups, from eight municipalities of the eastern region, meeting in Yecapixtla, decided to give an ultimatum to the state government to restore security to their families, whose lives have been disrupted with the waves of executions, extortions, robberies, and kidnappings registered in the area.
Since the weekend, they gave the head of the state, Graco Ramírez, 30 days to put a stop to these crimes, which have become constant in the municipalities in the East, according to members of Grupo Relámpago, an organization that the residents of Tetela Del Volcán formed to defend themselves, officially recognized by the authorities.
Failure to improve the security atmosphere, 11 clusters of residents of eight municipalities in the region will rise up in arms to take over the protection of their families, in a similar movement of the autodefensas of Michoacán, in 2013, led by José Manuel Mireles, who is currently in prison.
“We will not hand over a couple of pesos to organized crime; we prefer to use that money to buy weapons,” said one of the group representatives, a kidnap victim, who requested anonymity for security reasons.
He announced that in recent times, the people have been victims of crimes that until recently was not registered, the so-called floor tax, that is, the imposition of quotas to families and merchants so that they won’t be bothered, by the criminal groups.
In the Eastern region, they won’t charge floor tax. Let it be clear: we will defend our children and families by any means necessary…There’s determination in all of the organized groups of the region,” he said.
In addition to extortion, the residents have detected an increase in crimes such as car and cattle theft, at the expense of farmers in the region.
Among the organizations that could join the emergence of autodefensas in Morelos, there are the producers of cecina of Yecapixtla, who have lived through the ravages of crime, said the same source.
With the increase of incidents of common crimes and the inaction from officials to fight against insecurity, citizens of Sonora are beginning to organize themselves in order to take on criminals.
In states like Michoacán and Guerrero, the autodefensa groups emerged to fight federal crimes, such as organized crime and drug trafficking.
In Sonora, these civil groups organized to defend themselves, mainly from gangs and criminals who engage in committing ordinary crimes. They do it, so far, without weapons.
According to official figures, household robberies, extortion, homicides, and injuries have increased in the state.
Insecurity is the main problem facing the newly elected governor, Claudia Pavlovich.
Household robberies soared 129% in the first three months compared with the same period last year.
In February of this year, 243 thefts were reported, while in the same month last year, it was 99.