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ARGENTINA | 19-02-2024 17:26

Waldo Wolff: ‘With tougher penalties in the City, we can lower crime by 50%’

Buenos Aires City Security Minister Waldo Wolff details reforms implemented by the new administration, explains how crime could be further slashed and why “Jorge Macri is a modern leader.”

This week a Chilean who was stealing mobile phones was deported. What percentage of foreigners commit crimes? Is there a lack of a national policy in this regard?

Forty percent of homicides last year were committed by foreigners. In the first 50 days of our administration we arrested 4,292 people, 85 per day, 40 percent of them with criminal records. If we toughen penalties for foreigners who commit crimes and we extradite them quickly, and we do the same for repeat offenders, we’re sure we can lower crime by 50 percent.

 

Isn't there a lack of a national policy on this issue?

No, we’re working with the National Government and we have a very good relationship with the Security Ministry. It was during Mauricio Macri’s [2015-2019] government that Decree 70/2017 was issued [allowing for the express deportation of foreigners] and we’re asking for it to be reinstated. I understand there will be joint work about it in the next few days, because [the] Immigration [Directorate] has to intervene.

 

What is the ‘Ley de Reiterancia’ [Recidivism Law] and why will you introduce it at the Legislature?

On March 1, [Buenos Aires City Mayor] Jorge Macri will introduce the bill for all the crimes that fall under the City’s jurisdiction. We only have 20 percent in Buenos Aires City courts. The Mayor wants to have all the tools. In this case, recidivism starts running after a final judgement, and thus three years can go by. In the meantime, there may be a revolving door in prisons. With this [law], the idea is that, while you are taken to trial, if you commit another crime, you spend the time until the trial incarcerated.

 

Is the anti-picket protocol working well?

The protocol in the City is to enforce the law. You can’t block the road, it’s a crime. I’m very satisfied and I see good management by the Mayor. Jorge is a modern leader: he sets the parameters for the people he chooses and lets them do their job.

 

How is the relationship with Patricia Bullrich?

I talk to her a lot, we have a very smooth interaction, and on the best terms.

 

There was no noise after the changes at [the helm of] the City Police, including the chief and deputy chief, plus eleven superintendents?

We’ve only been in office for two months. We made the changes that are usually made with new management. We have nine superintendents and they’re nearly all brand-new. And the [City] Police took it well: they take orders from political powers, and coexist very well. I see the City Police very aligned and with a very good understanding.

 

What are the crimes at their peak in the City today ?

In terms of serious crimes, it’s the second-safest city in Latin America, with one murder for every 100,000 inhabitants. If you assess how many murders took place during a robbery, they were half of the 86 [that took place]. The other ones were crimes of passion, vendettas and gang fights. In other words, the City has few serious crimes, although we don’t have zero crime. We have crimes typical of a social setting: robberies and vandalism. It’s impossible to have one police officer on every block. We have 26,000 officers. The Federal Capital is surrounded by the Conurbano [of Greater Buenos Aires], where crime has multiplied four or fivefold, and we see it in the number of confrontations our officers have when they return to their homes in Greater Buenos Aires.

 

Has Juntos por el Cambio disappeared?

It doesn’t exist the way we used to know it: it’s being redesigned. Leadership and alliances are being discussed.

 

Do you think PRO has to reach an agreement with the ruling party?

I don’t know, it’s in development. What’s clear is that we’re not part of the government, but we agree on freedom guidelines, in economic, collective and individual terms. And I’m working for this government to fare well without being a part of it.

 

Would you like Mauricio Macri to preside over the national PRO [party]?

If he wants to, I would. Mauricio’s leadership is undisputed, and he’s the one who imagined all this and put the party together. I’ve always said he was the best president democracy has given us. And he is always a source of reference to be consulted.

 

How do you see Milei over these last two months?

I see him with a very strong personality, with very clear lines, and he needs that personality because he doesn’t have the political apparatus to back it up.

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Ezequiel Spillman

Ezequiel Spillman

Editor de Política de Diario Perfil. Mail: [email protected]

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