After midnight, Cesar Perez, the director of Mexico City’s Driving Without Alcohol program, stands alongside more than a dozen other police officers at a checkpoint on the corner of Reforma and Insurgentes avenues, near the capital’s historic center. Perez, a veteran officer with a serious demeanor, isn’t looking for drug smugglers. He and his team have a different focus: drunk drivers.He looks over at the line of cars by the curb. “In 2003 [former New York City mayor Rudolph] Giuliani came to look for programs to increase the efficiency of the police,” Perez says. “We had a high incidence of drunk driving.” Under a slight drizzle, a police tow truck operator raises the front of an impounded late model Volkswagen Beetle. The car’s driver, a middle-aged man in a crisp blue shirt, fails his breathalyzer test and will spend the night inside a holding facility, along with a few hundred other over-the-legal-limit drivers detained at other checkpoints.In other parts of the country, cartel violence is raging and criminals are taking advantage of the resulting power vacuum. But in Mexico City, the police, through their presence in the streets, have helped reduce the types of common crimes that affect residents the most. The alcoholímetro checkpoints are now a well-recognized element of Mexico City’s nightlife. They are part of a broader slate of innovative community-oriented police programs that have helped turn Mexico City from one of the world’s most dangerous places into one of the safest areas in Mexico.via From Bullets to Bistros: the Mexico City Miracle – Nathaniel Parish Flannery – The Atlantic.
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April 15, 2012
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- It’s Time To Reset U.S.-Mexico Relations – John M. Ackerman – POLITICO Magazine