August 10, 2001

Study of BC Crime Reveals Serious Problems

A study of crime in Baja California conducted by the Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior (Cetys) revealed a 61.8% increase in vehicle theft over the past three years. Crimes prosecuted at the federal level (drug crimes and others) increased 94%. In 1999 only 7,061 people received a jail sentence for 237,389 crimes.

Showing that most BC crime is not committed by recent arrivals to the state, the report's authors found that 60% of the prison population had lived in the state for at least ten years before committing the crime that landed them in prison. Only 10% of prisoners had lived in BC one year or less before going to jail. The study also reaffirmed that BC's prisons are overcrowded at 165% of capacity.

According to the 5,000 surveys completed for the study, BC residents believe that the main law-enforcement problems in the state are government inefficiency, kidnappings and corruption. Residents also believe that the rise in crime is due to unemployment, low wages and the current economic crisis.

Tijuana's newspaper Frontera reported that BC officials were upset that neither the state attorney general's office nor the federal attorney general's office would provide data for the study.

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