Extortion attempts are reported daily by restaurant owners and, in some cases, criminals successfully achieve their goal
Every single day restaurant owners receive calls of extortion attempts, Restaurant Chamber President Raúl Vásquez said.
Most of those calls are made from telephones with area codes of Central Mexico, Vasquez told La Voz newspaper.
Normally, callers pretend to be city employees or health department employees who request money for a permit.
There have been cases in which suspects call employees and successfully ask to deposit cash in a certain bank account to help restaurant owners.
In other cases, suspects threatened employees and shared pictures taken from eateries’ social media pages.
Vasquez said in one case an employee of a restaurant located in the Plaza Lienzo Shopping Center deposited suspects about $400 USD in Mexican currency while the owner was out of town.
These incidents have occurred although the state Attorney General’s office has held education events and has issued flyers to prevent extortion.
The agency has received 15 complaints this year of extortion cases against eateries. Last year the agency recorded 30 extortion cases and three extortion attempt cases.
Based on city records, Vasquez said every day 100 calls of extortion attempts are made to Mexicali businesses.
The chamber president told the newspaper many phone numbers used to extort victims in the city have already been identified.
At the same time, many business owners are not reporting all cases.
Last year, phone extortion was the most frequent crime against businesses in Baja California with 30.6 percent of all crimes, a study conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography said.
The study says more than four of every five crimes were not reported by companies.
Vasquez said Mexicali Police and the state Attorney General’s office have provided employees with seminars to prevent the crime.
The newspaper said almost all victims of WhatsApp cloning did not have two-step verification.
The authorities called potential victims to avoid providing personal information to suspects, try to gather information about dialers, stop children or senior adults from answering without supervision and not follow suspect requests.
Businesses shut down
Over four dozen companies have been shut down for environmental violations after state inspections, a Baja California official said.
Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development Monica Vega said in a prepared statement 19 companies have been temporarily suspended and 50 more were shut down in the year. Of those businesses 15 are located in Mexicali.
These companies paid the state 3.3 million pesos or around $168,254 USD in fines.
The agency said in the statement the state authorities have called businesses to comply with state regulations and stop the effects of climate change.
Staff with the Audit and Inspection Office holds everyday routine inspections after receiving complaints or by visiting companies, the agency said.
In a recent case in Mexicali, the agency shut down a company that failed to produce an environmental manifest.
Sec. Vega called business owners to approach the agency in order to regularize their situation.
Crime on the rise
The state Chairman of the conservative National Action Party said crime increased 13 percent during the first year of Governor Marina Ávila’s administration.
In a recent press conference, Chairman Mario Osuna responded to the governor’s first State of the State speech by saying no mention was made regarding crime and transportation issues or the raise of payroll taxes and water fees.
“She neither spoke about the possible credit loan of 2 billion pesos ($10 million USD) that will soon be requested to the Assembly,” Osuna said.
According to the state Chairman crime is not addressed with advertising or lack of coordination among law enforcement agencies.
National Action Party Assemblywoman Alejandrina Corral said the legislature’s Political Coordinating Board failed to notify lawmakers about the governor’s delivery of her yearly report, which prohibited legislators from speaking about the state of the state.
Assemblywoman Amintha Briseño said crime rates increased 13 percent between January and September compared to last year’s same period.
The state recorded 76,000 crimes this year, more than the 68,000 of 2021, Briseño said
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