>> Masked police officers with semi-automatic rifles patrolling the skies above Mexico City. An aggressive measure now being used by Mexican security forces to combat a rise in levels of drug violence in the city. Reuters' correspondent, Christine Murray, went for a fly along in a police helicopter last week.
>> A new police chief, Raymundo Collins has ordered police helicopters to fly over the city several times a day. Two armed guards hang out the side pointing their guns at the street below.>> In a sight more familiar to Mexico's most dangerous border cities, the helicopters moved low and slow attempting to intimidate criminals.
For years, the capital of Mexico has kept a lid on the worst crime and prospered, even becoming popular as a trendy getaway for foreign tourists. But now killings are up 45% since 2014.>> Homicides are rising in Mexico City as gangs fight for territory in which to sell drugs.
Gory stories abound in the local tabloid press, a decapitated man, a chopped up body found in an icebox, an American woman killed by a stray bullet in a taco joint.>> But the crime-fighting helicopters might not last for long. Claudia Sheinbaum, the next mayor and an ally of incoming president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said she questioned Collins' methods and has vowed to replace him when she takes office in four months.
But until then, the helicopters serve as a stark reminder to residents of the creeping drug violence in a sprawling city that would rather be known as one of Latin America's top spots for food, culture, and business.