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Giuliani:  Curbing Corruption Essential to Reducing Crime in Mexico City - 2003-01-16


Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani wrapped up a two-day visit to Mexico City Wednesday with a promise to prepare recommendations on fighting crime in the Mexican capital within the next four months. Mr. Giuliani said reducing police corruption would be a key element in any plan to attack crime.

In his comments to reporters just before leaving the city, Mr. Giuliani responded to questions about how he and his team of advisors might tackle the problem of crime in a place where police officers are often aiding the criminals. The former New York mayor said it is too early to speak of specific recommendations, but he said addressing the problem of corruption would be a key part of the plan.

"You have to remove corruption from a police department if people are going to have confidence and report crime to a police department. So, reduction or elimination of corruption is critical to reducing crime," he said.

One reporter noted that just after Mr. Giuliani visited one particular neighborhood on Tuesday, five policemen were arrested there for robbery. Mexico City Security Chief Marcelo Ebrard stepped to the podium at that point and noted that the accused lawmen had been arrested by other police officers. He said the city is committed to rooting out corruption and reducing crime and that this is the reason for asking Mr. Giuliani and his team for their recommendations.

For his part, Mr. Giuliani said that this is not an effort that can yield quick results. He said it will likely take years to implement the necessary changes to reduce crime here. He said his team has been working with Mexico City officials for the past three months and will continue to work with them in the months ahead. Mr. Giuliani said he was encouraged by the eagerness of officials here in Mexico to work with his team in developing a crime-prevention plan.

"We have a very favorable impression of the attitude of openness that will allow for the kind of recommendations and the kind of changes that can be helpful over a period of time in improving the quality of life and reducing crime," he went on say.

Mr. Giuliani expects to present a report with specific recommendations in May.

The Mexico news media focused attention on the large entourage of security personnel that accompanied the former New York mayor on his tour to various parts of the city Tuesday and Wednesday. But Mr. Giuliani said most of the police were there to help control the mob of reporters and photographers who followed him around the city.

He said he would have preferred to have visited the same areas quietly and without attention, but that became impossible once the news media learned of his presence. He denied reports that he was nervous about visiting the crime-ridden city and said he felt quite comfortable here during his stay.

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