US & World

UCLA professor tells Congress there's a better way to fight drug violence

UCLA Professor Mark Kleiman
UCLA Professor Mark Kleiman
Kitty Felde

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Congress wants to know if there’s a more efficient way to fight drug violence in Mexico. A public policy expert from UCLA offered the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee a novel proposal.

The question was whether this country’s efforts south of the border are cost effective.

UCLA public policy professor Mark Kleiman says, "cost effective? It’s not even effective."

Kleiman told the Congressional panel that the scattershot approach wastes resources. He said five or six cartels commit most of Mexico's drug violence. Kleiman suggested that Mexico publicly tally the number of murders each drug organization commits, and concentrate resources from both countries on the worst offenders.

"We pick one of them as the target for enforcement, it couldn’t compete with the others," said Kleiman. "So we could put them out of business simply by making them uncompetitive."

Professor Kleiman said that would convey a clear message to the other cartels: "okay fellas, who’s next?"

Klieman predicted that drug violence would drop as criminal organizations fight among themselves not to be next in line.