Deutsche Welle reports that Benjamin Grajeda Regalado, the head of Mexico’s federal police, has announced the creation of a new division to protect the country’s cultural heritage. The national gendarmerie will recruit officers with an understanding of art and archeology to look into cases surrounding stolen cultural artifacts. The training for these new officers will be overseen by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA), both of which are located in Mexico City.
Mexico has been called out on many occasions for not properly registering looted artworks and antiquities. Many of the paintings currently within Mexican churches are replicas of centuries-old pieces. According to official records from 2016, 90 percent of stolen works are never found. Between 2003 and 2016, the INAH listed 4,757 looted objects. Of that number, only 67 were returned. A more detailed record of culturally significant Mexican artifacts has yet to be created.