Rudy's Recipe For Mexico

Rudolph Giuliani, former New York Mayor, on Mexico City streets after meeting with police officials, 1-13-03
AP (file)
Eliminating corruption, streamlining police forces and prosecuting minor violations are among the crime-fighting recommendations expected this week from former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's consulting firm.

Mexico City police officials said they would release the recommendations Thursday.

The former mayor's company, Giuliani Partners, was hired last year by a group of private businessmen who forked over $4.3 million to help the Mexican capital match the Big Apple's success in cutting crime. Kidnappings, murders and robberies are common in Mexico City, as is police corruption.

Giuliani's team, headed by former New York City police officials who helped achieve a dramatic reduction in crime rates in New York in the 1990s, produced an initial fact-finding report on crime in Mexico City and recently handed over a list of final recommendations to officials here.

In January, Giuliani himself made a highly publicized visit to the capital during which he toured some of the city's rougher neighborhoods.

At the time, the former mayor remarked that "dealing with corruption is going to be a major factor" in combating crime.

Giuliani also said Mexico City police need to be held accountable for their actions and the city needs to assemble better crime-tracking statistics.

Published accounts of the Giuliani team's report said investigators were alarmed by the large number of police forces operating in the city: more than a dozen uniformed agencies under at least four different command structures.

During his visit earlier this year, Giuliani insisted he had never advocated the "zero tolerance" approach to crime that is often attributed to him, but said he believed in taking small crimes seriously.

Eliminating minor crimes to prevent larger ones is a strategy promoted by Rutgers University criminologist George Kelling, who also met with Mexico City Police Chief Marcelo Ebrard in June.

Ebrard has said some of the Giuliani team's findings already are being addressed. Earlier this year, for example, the city passed a new criminal code that stiffens bail rules and introduces tougher sentencing for serious crimes.

Jose Antonio Ortega, executive secretary of Coparmex, an organization of Mexican business officials that tracks crime in Mexico, said he has high hopes for Giuliani's recommendations.

While the ideas in the team's report may not be much different than what Mexican experts themselves have proposed, "We need a push from a successful foreign source that can bring hope to the city that yes, it can resolve its problem," Ortega said.

He added that the consulting firm's recommendations "are going to be good and they should be well received, and the authorities should follow them completely."

By Lisa Adams