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Víctor M. Quintana S.: Sentinel Citizenship

Victor M. Quintana S.


the decisions on the great investments or expenses of the government should not only be monitored by the Legislature; Citizens must also be consulted and participate in the deliberation on the matter. That is what a group of citizens and the Morena bench are demanding due to the Chihuahua government’s decision to acquire the so-called Sentinel Platform, a tower and a surveillance system throughout the state that will cost a total of 4,000 200 million pesos, of which 920 million will be disbursed in 2023.

The main challenges to the enormous spending decided by the Executive and the PRIAN in the state Congress are: in Ciudad Juárez, where the 23-story Sentinel Tower will be built to house the brain of said system, the lack of adequate urban infrastructure favors the insecurity of individuals and families: according to the Municipal Institute Research and Planning 23.4 percent of the huge urban area is not paved; In many neighborhoods public lighting is non-existent or does not work. The urban transport system is one of the worst in the Republic. All this, and not the lack of surveillance cameras, is what contributes to the high crime rates.

There is a myopic approach to security: all the emphasis is placed on situational prevention and social causes are not attacked. What will be paid for the Sentinel Platform this year is 65 percent higher than the budget of the Ministry of Social and Human Development. There are no strategies for the prevention and attention to addictions, nor for the reconstruction of the social fabric or to attend to school dropouts or young people at risk.

Seguritech, the company that will be paid the 4.2 billion pesos, has been highly questioned. It is a firm that has flourished since Felipe Calderón’s famous fight against drug trafficking began. Its owner, Ariel Zeev Picker Schatz, was highly favored by David Korenfeld, during his stay at the National Water Commission and before at the Mexico State Water Commission. During the peñismo, Seguritech received more than 22 thousand 300 million pesos in direct allocation, by various entities of the Republic, municipalities and mayors of Mexico City. Win with public insecurity, not with security (https://bit.ly/3WltOYV).

The questions and observations of control bodies, the Superior Audit of the Federation and citizen security committees in the state of Mexico, in Guanajuato, in Acapulco, in Oaxaca, in Sinaloa, in Baja California are recurring in the same vices and problems: bad services, equipment with faults, overvalued, at higher than average costs, breach of contracts, opacity in assignments, contracts that manage the lease model with option to purchase with multi-year payments, passing over the Legislative; non-delivery of the recorded databases, buildings built with poor-quality materials that are later sold to governments, non-accreditation of the criteria of efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and honesty (https://bit.ly/3PWDdDO).

What is most astonishing is the inefficiency of the Seguritech system. The enormous flow of resources that are paid to it in general have not served to reduce the crime rate of the entities that entered into contracts with it: in Colima, the contract with the company was entered into in 2017 and ended in 2020; in that period the number of crimes increased by 11 percent. In Guanajuato, between 2013 and 2021, the years in which Seguritech was operating, the annual crime rate increased 85 percent. In the state of Mexico, between 2013 and 2021, the term of the contract, the crime rate shot up 37 percent; in Michoacán, between 2015 and 2021, 34 percent and in Sonora, between 2017 and 2021, 42 percent. It only decreased in Sinaloa by 34 percent between 2011 and 2017. That is, in five of six states where Seguritech entered into contracts and operated security services, the annual crime rate shot up from 11 to 85 percent. Can that be called efficiency?https://bit.ly/3PWDdDO) (https://bit.ly/3Q0NiQ7)?

That is why the demands of the Morena parliamentary group in the Chihuahua Congress and the Ciudad Juárez Citizen Front are important: citizen security is too important to leave it in the hands of a highly questioned company, to drop a billion pesos with all opacity. You cannot say that you are working for the security of the people by doing everything behind their backs. Before sentinel platforms, sentinel citizenship.

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