Juarez TipLine: Enabling Local Communities To Play a Greater Role in Combating Violence

Posted by Alec Ross
October 25, 2010
Text Message

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

Earlier this month, I was in Ciudad Juarez, working with leaders from the local, state, and federal government in Mexico, as well as local civil society organizations and telecommunications companies to help build an anonymous crime reporting TipLine for the local community. The problems with drug trafficking and violence in Mexico are tragic and severe -- and there are, of course, no simple answers. I've appreciated the feedback and discussion that this initiative has produced.

Transnational criminal organizations have been preying on the people of Ciudad Juarez. I heard firsthand from the people of Juarez that they want and need to take a stand against the violence that is harming their community.

The TipLine (which will launch in the months ahead), is one small part of a much larger effort by the Mexican and U.S. governments to restore security to the border region. The United States has invested $1.4 billion so far in the Merida Initiative, which focuses on the shared challenge of narco-fueled violence in the region. The TipLine is a pilot, but if we can make a difference in the epicenter of the violence along our shared border, then there may be an opportunity to scale it more broadly.

Some of these efforts seek to address root causes, and some seek to address immediate needs. One of the immediate needs is to restore public confidence in the police force, and ensure accountability and transparency in law enforcement wherever possible. To this end, we are working with Mexico to establish anonymous crime reporting in Ciudad Juarez. Part of a plan to overhaul the public safety communications system in the city, the idea for the TipLine has two primary components. The first is to provide anonymity to callers so that they can be assured of their safety, and the second is to create transparency in how the police have responded to the tips by establishing a public website that provides information about the investigations in response to tips.

The TipLine effort is a tiny part of the Merida Initiative, but one that we think holds promise and one that responds to what people at the community level have asked of us.

The TipLine project has to be implemented with great care by many stakeholders for it to be successful. We are working very closely with civil society organizations in Ciudad Juarez to make sure the service meets their needs and expectations. We are working very closely with the telecommunications companies in the city -- all of whom have agreed to help make the service secure. And, of course, we are working with Mexican government and law enforcement officials, who are committed to making this a useful public service. All stakeholders are involved in the creation of a strategy of public education to promote the service when it becomes operational. In the meantime, we are taking all the necessary precautions to ensure this is done right.

There are no "silver bullet" solutions to the problems with drug trafficking in Mexico. There will be many answers working at many different levels on different parts of the problem. With the TipLine, our goal is to put better tools into communities to play a role in combating the violence. Listening to local civil society organizations is a critically important part of our work. There is a great deal of mistrust between security forces and local communities, which we are looking to bridge in a responsible manner.

This is no time to sit back and simply watch an ever-rising homicide rate. This is the time to work closely together with our Mexican partners to take action. People are dying, and this is one small way in which we can help.

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



Sarah G.
District Of Columbia, USA
October 25, 2010

Sarah G. in Washington, D.C. writes:

Hi Alec,

Thank you for your insightful response. I greatly appreciate your efforts in Juarez, and I believe if enough trust is gained from all sides, sufficient progress can be made. Also, it is great to know that our comments on DipNote are received and acted upon. Thanks!

Gerald A.
United States
October 26, 2010

Gerald A. in the U.S.A. writes:

I was in Ciudad Juarez, working with leaders from the local, state, and federal government in Mexico, as well as local civil society organizations and telecommunications companies to help build an anonymous crime reporting TipLine for the local community.
Local community tip line for Transnational criminal organizations... have been preying on the people of Ciudad Juarez.

Your efforts fall short, where is the Transnational tip line all languages both sides of the border and S America?


West Virginia, USA
October 27, 2010

Dr. G. in West Virginia writes:

The ability to report crime or to turn in a badguy anonymously is paramount to encourage the citizenry to help combat narcocrime.A great step.

Another even greater step would be to legalize marijauna in the US and tax it heavily like alcohol. That would stop the crossborder trafficking and provide huge revenues for the states.

South Korea
October 28, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Busy, I'm sorry. Pohang would not. I'm not don'twant, they tell me to approach you must hate themselves. Again, I think their minions have committed the crime. If money is not going to go to Pohang know ....

look in front of large domestic corporations of the shopping center, showing them to the people, to help ish. Many businesses and politicians of the South Korea ...

By any chance, do you hide a way to reverse?

District Of Columbia, USA
October 29, 2010

Lilly in Washington DC writes:

The violence in Ciudad Juarez is unjust and inexcusable. More should be done to protect the citizens in the border regions and I agree that the TipLine is a step in the right direction. But this is just a bandaid to a much larger social and economic problem.

In order to decrease the number of senseless killings it is imperative to diminish the want/consumption of drugs in the United States. While legalizing marijuana may eliminate it from the illicit drugs that come over the border everyday, 90 percent of the cocaine used in the U.S. comes from Mexico. This makes it clear that this is not, simply put, the "Mexican drug war" but a United States consumption problem. The violence stems from the high demand for drugs in the U.S.

My heart goes out to all the families in Ciudad Juarez and all across the border, who have lost loved ones or who may be caught up in drug trafficking. I hope the TipLine will be successful in combating drug cartels and assure safety in the community.

Pamela G.
West Virginia, USA
October 29, 2010

Pamela G. in West Virginia writes:

This is a wonderful plan, anything to try to stop the violence in Mexico is a great idea. Thank you to the author Alex Ross for bringing this to our attention.


Latest Stories