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IS THE NATIONAL GUARD A GOOD STRATEGY TO COMBAT ORGANIZED CRIME?

Por Ricardo Solano Olivera.

 

Beyond legal considerations as to whether a National Guard, as proposed by MORENA and by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is constitutional or not, it is worth discussing whether the conformation of this body – by itself – is enough to fight organized crime in Mexico.

A strategy can be defined as a set of principles that are applied to achieve a long-term purpose. These principles guide the daily work of one or more organizations to achieve the defined objectives. A well-formulated strategy guides the allocation of resources according to the competencies and shortcomings of each organization; that is, a strategy must define the most appropriate allocation of resources to achieve its objectives (Gottschalk, 2008). A strategic planning considers how the future could be seen using formal planning methodologies in a proactive way in order to control and produce an articulated result; this, in the form of an integrated decision-making system (Gottschalk, 2008, Zhao, et al., 2008, Mintzberg, 1994).

The planning of a strategy must be followed by its implementation. This must have priority and direction; that is, having a series of specific objectives that achieve the ultimate goal of the strategy in a given time. We can divide strategies to combat criminal organizations in three main approaches: preventive, economic and repressive.

The   Preventive strategies are those aimed at preventing crime by increasing police surveillance and penalties or sanctions. In this sense, the expectations of potential criminals with respect to punishment determine crime rates (Kugler, et al., 2005). However, the expected punishment depends not only on the severity of the punishment, but also on the likelihood of being prosecuted if the crime is committed. Therefore, sanctions constitute a cost that, multiplied by the probability of detention, must be sufficient to deter criminals (Kopp, 2004).

However, in a situation where law enforcement officials are poorly paid, there is corruption, and there is a weak government, increased sanctions can lead to higher crime rates; In addition, the price of corruption could also increase. In other words, the cost of committing crimes increases due to increases in surveillance and sentences. The optimal response of organized crime to face these higher costs is to increase bribery to decrease the probability of sanctions (Kopp, 2004, and Kugler, et al., 2007). Therefore, prevention or deterrence strategies can only be used when the rule of law is respected and when the legal system and security agencies are not corrupted.

The   and economic strategies are those that aim to break the financial apparatus of criminal organizations, mainly through policies against money laundering. Money laundering is the process by which criminal organizations conceal the existence, illegal source or illegal application of income and disguise that income to make it appear legitimate ( Driggers , 2011).

Limiting the possibilities for criminals to enjoy the proceeds of their criminal activities, as a way to prevent the commission of crimes, is less expensive and more effective. Thus, an effective strategy against money laundering must have repressive and preventive dimensions. The objective of the repressive mechanism is to detect and punish the agents that transgress the law, while the preventive dimension seeks a “moralization” of the banking and financial sectors in order to increase the mechanisms that allow them to detect doubtful clients in order to denounce them. corresponding instances (Kopp, 2004).

In this sense, a good economic strategy needs an adequate private monitoring system; that is, an alliance between the public and private sectors. However, the effectiveness of this type of strategy is very confusing because it is impossible to know the exact amount of money laundered in a given country.

The   repressive measures , in general, they focus on the suppliers within the illegal markets, with the aim of capturing and processing them. The logic of these strategies is that removing suppliers can lead to an increase in prices and, as a consequence, to a reduction in consumption. However, this depends on the reaction of the distributors and the nature of consumer demand. It is not clear whether consumer demand is inelastic or elastic (each assumption leads to a different result), or even if repression actually leads to an increase in prices (Kopp, 2004). These strategies recognize that the underlying conditions of illegal markets are impossible to eradicate,But the objective of public policies is to minimize the social costs associated with drug trafficking to the point where an optimal balance is reached, according to economic theory.

The National Guard, as a bureaucratic-militarized corps (see Ponsaers , 2001), would enter into a repressive strategy; same strategy that the governments of Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieta have followed. The repressive strategies invariably lead to the fragmentation of criminal organizations. And this fragmentation, to the increase in violence. The only way in which fragmentation does not lead to an increase in crime rates is to implement preventive and economic strategies at the same time (see Solano, 2015).

That is, only if the probability that the commission of a crime will necessarily lead to a penalty, regardless of its duration or the type of crime (private or not of freedom), can reduce crime. As long as corruption continues to permeate the Mexican justice system, these repressive measures will only increase the price of corruption, not discourage the commission of crimes.

Do you want to know how the rates of violence in Mexico affect your organization and how can you be better prepared to avoid a crisis due to insecurity? Approach Political Risks to provide you with personalized advice, info@riesgospoliticos.com.mx .

 

Photo by Velizar Ivanov    on   Unsplash

 

References :

Driggers, A. (2011). “Money Laundering.” American Criminal Law Review 48, 929-953.   

Gottschalk, P. (2008). Knowledge Management in Policing. Enforcing Law on Criminal Business Enterprises. New York: Hindawi Publishing Corporation.   

Kopp, P. (2004). Political Economy of Illegal Drugs . New York: Routledge.

Kugler, M., Verdier , T., and Zenou , Y. (2005). “Organized Crime, corruption and punishment.” Journal of Public Economics 89, 1639-1663.   

Mintzberg, H. (1994). “Rounding on the managers’ job.” Sloan Management Review 36 (1), 11-26.   

Ponsaers , P. (2001). Reading about “community (oriented) policing” and police models. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management 24 (4), 470-496.

Solano, R. (2015). Governance of Criminal Organizations. Is fragmentation the solution? (Master’s Thesis). University of Leiden, The Hague, The Netherlands.   

Zhao, J., Thurman, Q., and Ren, L. (2008). “An examination of strategic planning in American law enforcement agencies.” Police Quarterly    eleven   (1), 3-26.

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