GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemalan authorities broke up a total of 89 criminal networks, most of them devoted to extortion and murders-for-hire, and arrested 905 people associated with them in 2016, according to a report published on Saturday by the Interior Ministry.
The document says that the tally come as a result of the actions undertaken by the National Civil Police, adding that of the 89 networks, 52 specialized in extortion and murder, 12 devoted themselves to kidnapping and the rest to other kinds of crime.
“These results increased the confidence of the public in the actions of the National Civil Police, thus augmenting the number of (tips), especially those concerning extortion,” the report stated, adding that although 5,036 complaints had been received in 2015, 7,034 were received last year, a 40 percent increase.
Also during the past year, authorities seized 4,944 illegal firearms, “a figure exceeding that of 2015, (when) 4,440 (were confiscated).”
On Jan. 4, the Public Ministry had said that in 2016, authorities broke up 11 criminal organizations devoted to kidnapping, enabling them to rescue 28 kidnap victims.
According to figures from the PNC’s Strategic Planning and Institutional Social Development department, made public on Jan. 1, Guatemala ended last year with 4,520 reported murders, 258 fewer than in 2015 and a rate of 27.3 per 100,000 inhabitants.