Crime and Violence

Cd. Juárez security no longer Army’s job; goes to Federal Police

The last day of March brought an important announcement from the Secretary of the Interior (Secretaría de Gobernación, SEGOB) regarding the presence of the army in the important border city with over 1.5 million people. The major responsibility for public security services will be transferred from the army to the Federal Police. According to the SEGOB’s press release, this marks a new stage of the federal government’s strategy—“Todos Somos Juárez”— for decreasing crime and the start of a progressive devolution of major public security functions back to civilian law enforcement agencies (namely the municipal and state police). Transferring official responsibility for this to the Federal Police (a federal civilian agency) is the first step in that process, according to the SEGOB.

This transfer of authority on March 31 also coincided with the end to an agreement between the army and the city government, the Convenio de Colaboración (Agreement for Cooperation). It authorized military personnel to perform important functions normally reserved for local law enforcement in order to improve security. These include operating the emergency response system (for 911 calls or their equivalent), taking anonymous crime reports, street patrols, transit functions, and other work. The direct role of the military as part of national efforts against organized crime, and especially in Ciudad Juárez, has come under greater scrutiny in recent months. This March, the Governor of Chihuahua, José Reyes Baeza, indicated that he would prefer for the army to be withdrawn by the time President Calderón ends his term at the end of 2012.

Nevertheless, the press release made clear that the army will continue to support local law enforcement and strengthen their institutional capacity. About 5,000 military elements on constant rotation will continue to operate in Ciudad Juárez. When added to the 4,500 Federal Police in the city, nearly 10,000 federal elements will remain in the city, compared to 2,800 municipal police and 200 state police.


AFP. “Ejército saldrá de Ciudad Juárez.” Univisió Marzo 31, 2010.

“Asumen federales mando en Juárez.” El Heraldo de Chihuahua. Abril 1, 2010.

Medellín, Jorge Alejandro. “Sitian militares Ciudad Juárez.” El Universal. Marzo 2, 2009.

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