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Security beefs up as Pan Am Games nears

October 1, 2011

To ensure the comfort and security of tourists during the October 14-30 Pan American Games, 200 bilingual tourist police have been trained specially for the event, while 1,500 federal officers have arrived in Guadalajara to provide additional protection to all athletes, visitors and spectators.

The Ministry of Tourism in Jalisco (Setujal) announced last week that it expects 800,000  tourists to visit the state between the end of September and the completion of the Pan American Games a month later. So far 70,000 hotel room reservations already been made, out of a goal of 100,000.

To cope with this influx of visitors Guadalajara’s metropolitan councils have trained over 200 bilingual police officers to provide tourists with the best treatment during the games, which start on 14 October.

This specialist task force is formed of young graduates from the Police Academy, who have each been trained in at least two languages and in some cases taught first aid.

Working in the municipalities of Guadalajara, Zapopan, Tlaquepaque, Tonala and Tlajomulco, the officers will provide guidance and tourist information to visitors and will even escort tourists to their hotels if their alcohol intake means they cannot drive or must walk through areas of risk while inebriated.

Meanwhile, 1,500 federal police arrived in Guadalajara last weekend, in addition to the 500 that have already been here for two months. More federal police are expected to arrive in the coming days to provide the necessary protection to all athletes, visitors and spectators during the games.

The latest 1,500 agents include early warning and reaction units, social assistance, rescue and special operations units. They will be equipped with armored vehicles, motorcycles, ambulances, patrol cars and Black Hawk helicopters.

Earlier this month Mayor Jorge Aristoteles Sandoval Diaz estimated that there will be 10,000 police in Guadalajara throughout the games, alongside hundreds of military personnel.

A threat assessment report published this week by Stratfor Global Intelligence found that “the most dangerous organizations in Mexico have very little motivation or intent to hit the Pan American Games.”

Visitors are more likely to be the victims of petty crime than any drug related violence, although given the cartels’ penchant for macabre publicity “it would not be surprising if one or more cartel groups attempted some sort of body dump or other spectacle in Guadalajara during the games.”

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