Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Arrests in murders of four Guatemalan women

Guatemalan authorities arrested two men, father and son, responsible for the murders of four women on January 16. Two were young girls found in their pajamas. The oldest one is also believed to have been raped. Authorities have so far said that the women were killed because of "business problems" but they have yet to go into too much detail about the specifics of this case.

The older suspect is the owner of several appliance stores and neighbor of the women. In addition to his appliance businesses, he has been linked to the sales of guns and drugs and money laundering. He allegedly solves problems with "bullets" and is connected to two attempted murders in 2012.

It's interesting to see all the tools at work in solving the crime - street cameras that spotted and tracked the car, DNA, forensics, communications. The Guatemalan authorities are much better prepared to solve crimes than they were just a few years ago. They've used these tools to solve some high profile murders/suicides such as those of Rodrigo Rosenberg, Facundo Cabral and the Peten massacre. I don't know how much better but they are better.

Claudia Paz y Paz also gave an update on femicide cases. She announced that authorities made 361 accusations related to 585 violent deaths of women in 2012 and secured 185 sentences. Better but still a lot of work to do.

Antonio Ordóñez for Infosurhoy also has a good story on efforts that have been undertaken to modernize the PNC. Ten percent of its police vehicles will soon have dashboard mounted cameras.
The cameras will utilize digital radio communications systems as well as a global positioning system (GPS), allowing the PNC’s operations center to determine the exact location of its vehicles at all times.
“The cameras and radios will be connected to the monitoring center and have access to the centralized databases used by national security authorities,” Rivera Clavería said. “This way, officers will have access to valuable information while they are on patrol.”
The cameras in the police cars are equipped with a license plate recognition system, which allows officers to enter vehicles’ license plate numbers into a police database to determine whether the car has been stolen or whether there’s an arrest warrant out for the owner.
A number of buses already have electronic surveillance systems. I don't think that there's any doubt that police and prosecutors are better prepared today than they were a few years ago.

Dont' get me wrong, there are still lots of challenges and Perez Molina's promise to rely more heavily on the military is likely one of them. No one should be satisfied but they are better.

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