Security expert says presidential candidates are ‘clueless’ about addressing the crime crisis

Jul 28, 2023 | 0 comments

A security expert calls it “unbelievable” that the presidential candidates in the August cross death election don’t have better ideas about fighting crime. “Crime and violence are the number one issue on voters’ minds and none of the candidates have strong positions about confronting the crisis,” says Fernando Carrión, a former police investigator and security company manager. “A vice presidential candidate even suggested we sit down with Ecuador’s most dangerous criminals and talk to them.”

The root of Ecuador’s crime epidemic one expert says, is in its ports.

According to Carrión, the weekend violence that included a deadly prison riot in Guayaquil and the murder of the Manta mayor makes it clear what the country is facing. “All the candidates blame [President Guillermo] Lasso but none of them offer a strong counter plan,” he says. “Of course, Lasso is partly to blame but we’re talking about people campaigning to make the country better.”

Putting more police and army troops on the streets and making more arrests is only part of the solution, Carrión says. “All eight candidates say this is what we should do and five of them want ‘citizen committees’ to make recommendations,” he says. “They are without a clue of how to address the real crime issues.”

No one is talking about attacking the root of Ecuador’s drug trafficking trade, poor controls of the ports, Carrión claims. “This involves a system-wide plan of better cargo surveillance, which in turn requires addressing corruption at the ports, especially the bribery of agents. We need to bring in outside experts that are not part of current operations, and I can assure you there are people who can help.”

He continues: “In addition, we need the funding to develop a stronger intelligence capability for the National Police and to revise our investigation and forensic procedures,” he says. “As it is, we are continuously surprised by criminal attacks and prison riots. We celebrate catching hitmen but ignore the fact the gunmen are far removed from the bosses who order the hits. We are targeting the little guys, not the leaders.”

Social problems must also be addressed, says Carrión. “Guayaquil, Manta and Esmeraldas schools have the highest dropout rate in the country and young people with nothing to do are joining the gangs. We are developing future generations of criminals.”

Carrión says he has made it known he is available to advise the candidates on crime issues. “So far, I have had no takers. It’s a depressing situation.”

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