NPR logo Beset By Violence, Mexican State Will Build Free Homes For Police


Beset By Violence, Mexican State Will Build Free Homes For Police

In the Nuevo Leon town of Santiago, Mayor Bladimiro Montalvo spoke to reporters last month about the Zetas, a notoriously violent drug cartel. Montalvo's predecessor was reportedly kidnapped and shot to death this summer by his own police officers, who have been linked to the Zetas. Carlos Jasso/AP hide caption

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Carlos Jasso/AP

Imagine a city where everyone's a cop — a planned community built to house 800 police officers and their families. That may seem strange — but in Mexico, Cop Land is more than the title of a Sylvester Stallone movie.

The state of Nuevo Leon plans to build an $81 million housing complex for police officers, as part of an effort to turn back the tide of drug violence and corruption.

Under the plan, the police officers living in what Bloomberg News is calling "Mexico's first police city" won't own their homes. But they won't be charged for housing, either.

"It’s a way of keeping them protected and for the good police to be better off,” Nuevo Leon secretary general Javier Trevino tells Bloomberg. “It’s an issue of professionalizing and dignifying the police."

The state hopes to get a hand from some of the large companies who have their headquarters there:

Nuevo Leon is calling on companies to help with the social projects. The state is home to Cemex, the largest cement maker in the Americas, in addition to soft-drink producer Fomento Economico Mexicano SAB, the owner of Latin America’s largest convenience-store chain, and chemical maker Alfa SAB.

Nuevo Leon hopes to increase the size of its police force, from the current 8,000 officers to 14,000. And the officers will get a boost to their base salary, which will rise to $12,480.