Using Technology To Turn the Tide of Violence in Juarez, Mexico

Posted by Alec Ross
October 13, 2010
Woman Uses Phone in Mexico

About the Author: Alec Ross serves as Senior Advisor for Innovation in the Office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

On October 11, I traveled to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a city just on the other side of the border from El Paso, Texas. The 1.3 million people of Juarez have been living under the horrific impact of narcoviolence for several years. The numbers speak for themselves -- in 2009, transnational criminal actors killed more than 9,600 people. Since taking office in 2006, President Felipe Calderon and the Mexican government have bravely stepped up to confront this drug-fueled violence. In April 2010, the Mexican Secretariat of Public Safety (SSP) took over responsibility for security in Juarez, and now 4,500 federal police officers attempt to keep peace on the city streets. In spite of this, the homicide rate in Juarez so far this year is on pace to exceed the devastating rate witnessed in 2009.

So how can we get our arms around this situation, and work with our partner Mexico to help provide a safe environment for their citizens to study, work and raise their families?

There is no single and simple answer, but one ingredient we know is the key -- helping Mexican citizens take an active and effective role in their own security.

Secretary Clinton has recognized the United States' co-responsibility for the situation in Mexico, as demand for drugs on the U.S. side of the border in large part fuels the crime. The United States is partnered with the Mexican government on security issues through the Merida Initiative. Through Merida, we provide equipment and training in support of law enforcement operations to promote the long-term reform and professionalization of Mexican security agencies. Secretary Clinton is very focused on how we can empower the citizens of Mexico --and specifically Juarez -- to help achieve a long-term, sustainable peace. Without the active participation of the residents of Juarez and other cities throughout Mexico, security solutions brought to the table will only serve in the short term.

One clear way the people of Mexico can help combat the violence is by sharing information on criminal activity with local law enforcement authorities. Unfortunately, many Mexican citizens do not feel safe calling the current emergency lines, as they believe their personal security could be at risk. This results in missed opportunities for Mexican law enforcement officials to take down criminals. According to a recent survey by the Instituto de Estudios Sobre la Inseguridad (ICESI), 78 percent of crimes go unreported in Mexico, and less than two percent actually result in convictions.

In my role as Senior Advisor for Innovation, I have led a team over the last year to explore how we can use technology to help overcome the challenge of personal security risk in the current emergency line in Juarez. Mobile phone penetration is extremely high in Juarez: approximately 80 percent of the population has a cell phone. We saw an opportunity to draw in the people of Juarez to be part of a positive change in their communities through mobile technology.

Our team in Washington and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City has worked closely with the Mexican government and private Mexican mobile providers to develop a secure tipline that will be available to residents of Juarez in coming months. The immediate challenge is to encourage the people of Juarez to have confidence in the new system and share information that could lead to prosecutions and eventually arrests of criminal actors.

Both the Mexican and U.S. teams are also working with civil society organizations in Mexico to develop an online platform through which they can review trends in both crimes reported and responses by authorities. This critical participation by civil society can help create a positive feedback loop required to achieve real improvements in the response time by Mexican law enforcement to reports from citizens.

Our end goal is to support our Mexican partners in creating a safer, more productive Juarez. Our strategy involves multiple components. One absolutely critical element is engaging the people of Mexico through mobile technology to be part of this positive change.

Hector Murguia was inaugurated as the new mayor of Juarez this past Sunday, October 10. Mayor Murgu noted in his inaugural speech: "Crime is powerful, but it's not invincible." Clearly, he couldn't be more right. Our hope is that the anonymous citizens' complaint program will empower the citizens of Juarez to contribute to reestablishing a safer community for themselves and their families.



R. B.
United States
October 29, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

One name Richard Padilla Cramer, ICE led office of two dozen agents in Arizona, was attache officer for Immigration and Customs, Guadalajara,worked at U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara.

United States
October 29, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Thank you Dipnote. How can a terrorist be a terrorist if they uphold the values of their country? Everyone has a cause and a fight. The Taliban fight to keep the infidel out of their lands. The State Department fights to gain access into a country. Not all change is considered positive especially when change is manupulative and can be done illicitly like playing both sides of a conflict then reaping the spoils. My country has so much to offer the world in its intelligent ability to systemize things and its ability to build and get things done quickly. We are a nation of good, hard working people. When we see a problem we naturally want to fix it because that's who we are, Americans. Part of being the greatest nation on earth is being able to critically look at oneself and improve. That's my job. I want our leaders to stick to what makes America great and leave behind the negative, manipulative part. You can't say you're a land of the free and simultaneously exploit the world. The American people want good leadership based on moral, sound objectives not some fake, manipulative, evil wannabee of the past. Controlling the world requires intelligence and good stewardship. We'll see if these faint glimmers of hope stick and actually improve the world's plight.
Terrorists are unconscious of who they've been terrorizing. That pretty much sums up the last 50 years of our history. Hopefully,
happier more productive times are ahead of us otherwise the world and the American people won't stand for it.

New Mexico, USA
October 29, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

OC wrote;

"These plans haven't worked because our government or someone in our shadow government deals drugs."

That's preset-tence OC, not past tense, so former members of gov. on admin. leave or under inditement, or covicted, is not what I'm looking for from you.

The names you supply have to be currently serving in government for you to prove what you say, I should have made that clear in my challenge to you.

What "shadow gov."??? Prove that it exists.

Name Names leading this so-called "Shadow gov."

And don't give me any stories about the "illuminati".

Where's the links to credible source documentation?

One name isn't going to cut it either, you have to establish a systemic network since you implied that this was a pervasive situation far reaching among current high ranking government officials of the US. and this so-called shadow government that flat doesn't exist untill you can prove that it does.

You're Not even close to proving a thing, thinking one individual who used to work for this government will suffice as credible proof.

In any given city world wide, there will be some individuals in law enforcement that are "on the take" this is a given of human nature and have to do a lot better than this to make good on your claim, and frankly to do so you better actually know something the FBI doesn't to prove this.

That's what's the real don't.

So stop insinuating things about peoiple and stop complaining that the moderator is being unfair. They just do their part to create a level playing field here and edit my posts as well so don't play games with your wild accusations, it isn't what you think, and it's not about you.

New Mexico, USA
October 30, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Here you go again with your wild accusations OC,

You wrote:

"You can't say you're a land of the free and simultaneously exploit the world. The American people want good leadership based on moral, sound objectives not some fake, manipulative, evil wannabee of the past."

Again, Name names and make them famous OC, and exactly how has the US exploited anyone? By removing tyrants and helping folks build the institutions of Democracy? Or is this the work of some mysterious "shadow gov." you're talking about that are the evil doers?

Curious minds would love to know.

To answer your question:

"How can a terrorist be a terrorist if they uphold the values of their country?"

When they lead a nation like Iran that is the world's most prolific state sponsor of terrorism.

You wrote:

"The Taliban fight to keep the infidel out of their lands."

Wrong, that's just the public excuse they use in their attempt to regain political control and subjugate populations to their religious totalitarian will.

How many Taliban does it take to screw in a light bulb?


You know how the Taliban are, they won't touch anything modern with a ten foot pole, so they have their token infidel do it.

Everything else in your post seems reasonable enough except for the fact that you consistantly trash the American government while they uphold all the values you claim as so dear to you.

Why is that I wonder?

You wrote:

"Part of being the greatest nation on earth is being able to critically look at oneself and improve. That's my job."

Well you need to do a lot more self examination and change your wild accusations into proven facts right here right now to convince me this statement above isn't the epitimy of egotistic hypocracy.

In any case, you're not doing a very good job as far as could be discerned from the many posts containing unfounded accusations regarding your peers blogging here, as well as this gov. that I could copy and paste from other threads as well as this one, but there wouldn't be the space in this single post to do that.

It would take a few dozen 5000 character posts to include all the links to the many posts of your's I'm refering to over time on Dipnote.

If you want to make a difference, try being credible for a change and prove what you say is true or just not say anything at all if you cannot.

You wrote:

"Controlling the world requires intelligence and good stewardship."

Cite when and where in US foreign policy that states our intent to "control the world" and I'll cite many more that establish foreign policy based on the world controlling itself so we don't have to go kick butt on terrorists and dictators on a semi-constant basis.

You have a very deep misunderstanding of exactly what our nation's values actually are if you seriously think that's "who we are and what we do." as the President put it in broader context to lending a helping hand up to folks in need.

There isn't a policy made by man or government that can't be improved upon to better serve the people, but you very often try and insinuate that folks in this and previous admins. don't care, intend to manipulate, deal drugs, etc etc, blah blah, woof woof, complain add nauseum without offering one bit of proof or one solution that's available for the reader to examine. And that hurts your credibility.

It may be your opinion, but if you want to be taken seriously by "the powers that be", and make some kind of positive changes, you're going about it in a way that garrantees folks won't.

What about spewing negativity in all directions as being self -defeating to your stated purpose in life (your "job" as it were ), is so hard for you to understand anyway?

You complain about a red carpet, and leave it to me to come up with a "green solution" and roll out the sod instead?
So "We like this idea :)" being the response from on high doesn't mean I expect to see it done anytime soon. I personally think they liked it because the dipnote staff probably fell out of their chairs laughing at the thought of the "wiggle room" it would engender among honored guests going into negotiations...and humor has its place inspiring new ways of thinking about things.

So why didn't you think of it?

Well if you spend most of your time here complaining , that's less time spent on creative solutions isn't it?

As a matter of fact George C. Marshall established the Policy Planning staff within DoS long ago because it's impossible to do the strategic thinking and the implementation at once by the Sec. of State and senior officials, you either spend too much time strategizing and not enough time implementing policy, or you're implementing policy and not doing the critical level of strategic planning to keep up with the changing world.

You ask me for "enlightenment"? Well take it for real, because it's the best I can offer you.



John P.
October 31, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

@O.C. in the U.S.A.

Is it another spy link O.C.? (I do not know. Unfortunately, I am not Kevin Mitnick to check what I receive.) So, I trust what is a .gov in what I receive in my computer.

It’s the only way to stay logical and keep on following the “trusted source”!

(if hackers or anti-American spies have made it possible to use .gov sending me wrong info, then, we have a problem. A serious security one.)

Until it’s proved… Sorry, I have to answer you back.

You wrote:

QUOTE: It's that simple. Why has nearly evry war or conflict we've fought been in a drug zone? Vietnam, Panama, Afghanistan. END OF QUOTE.

My answer again is:
Why do we arrest them then? For example, in Afghanistan… as the breaking news say.

New Mexico, USA
October 31, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

You know occurs to me this topic is really all about technology and how we use it.

I want to personally thank Mr. Colbert and Mr. Stewart for using it on the Mall to bring reasonable fruition to sanity and a smak-down of fear the other day, and here we all are in the Dipnote "fishbowl"...this great experiment...the reflecting pond of hopes and dreams for humanity and our trials and tribulations too.

I think the State Dept should sponsor them and take the rally to restore sanity (and/or fear) on the road wherever the Secretary travels in her "bubble" to.

Take along the roots of legend and benediction , a brave 7 year old girl, and create a crazy love train bound for peace..."We'll take you there!" as long as you'all willing to put up with the traffic jam.

I said once on this blog it's my job as a citizen to inspire people to think, I didn't tell anyone what to think, nor believe in it, until you see it..."and get you're eyes checked often".

Life is good and then you get one...even in hard end is near.

The good, the bad, the ugly amonst us...we are all of that in reasonableness..."you go, then I go." bumper to bumper into the tunnel of the unknowable future before us, till we get to the light at the end of it...and it might be New Jersey but what the heck, life is like that.

So to you'all brave enough to comment here, and those reading out there.

On all souls day we need not fear those thigs going bump in the night, it's what we know's out there we got to get together to contend with.

My postman delivered the mail yesterday in tie-dyed tee-shirt a three foot in diameter afro with a comb in the hair, peace symbol ung around the neck with a gold ganster sized chain, and said to me.."wanna drop some acid?"

This is coming from a federal employee mind you, just for grins and giggles...made me fall down in a fit of laughter bout having a coronary I said as I caught my breath..."Dude! I think you already gave me a contact high!" Made my day he did just to experience the vision that had materialized before me on the way out to my morning cup-a joe.

I was so inspired that invited to a most pagan festival I had to go dressed in a suit and a red white and blue do-rag, face painted with stars and bars as America's "Ambassador to peace, love, happiness, and all that other good S&!#" somebody had to do it.

It's been lookin' a lot like "South park" around here lately.

Well I got a call from Obama the other day, tells me "Press 1 on your phone if you want help voting early."

I've been voting for sanity a long time now sir I told the recording...but I'm pretty sure he hears me now...loud and clear.

We can do reasonable, as long as we remember our joy.

Let's take us there. What are we waiting for, the Taliban to screw in a lightbulb?

Toner cartriges to go Boom?

Aye folks, the world desperately needs an attitude adjustment, and thanks to Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert, and all on the Mall, America has taken the fear mongering psestilence of the press and put it in its place.

Reminding us all of who we are and how we get things done in our neck of the woods, wherever that is in America.

Bravo! I hope bin Laden was Colbert's puppet was melting.

It get's better folks, because he's next.

God bless America, and all of humanity.

"Top dogs" R us. No need to feed the squirrels. We arn't nuts.

New Mexico, USA
November 2, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

"We arn't a nation that lives in fear."
-Gov. Tom Ridge

(I'm sure Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert will appreciate this statement in the post-rally aftermath)

Great discussion on all aspects of homeland security and I think helps define the nature of the threat faced regarding as he put it, the "narco-insurgency" going on in Mexico;


I don't know if he reads this blog or not, but he said virtually exactly what I did in quotes below, in exact same context to Halloween and the threats we face.

Well jeepers! By golly it's nice to have a thought confirmed as such by the folks who's job it is (or was) to protect us!

"On all souls day we need not fear those thigs going bump in the night, it's what we know's out there we got to get together to contend with."

Air O.
November 17, 2010

A.F.O. in China writes:

Happiness depends on our attitudes to life. This year we start with True Happiness.



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