The security plan for Bogotá launched by Mayor Enrique Peñalosa during the start of his administration is beginning to yield positive results, reveals a study by the city’s subsecretary for Security.
Street robbery, the crime that most affects residents of Bogotá, fell 12% between January and August this year, compared with the same period in 2015. The reduction is important for the mayoralty, as during previous years, the most serious issue facing authorities was finding real solutions to protect citizens from armed robberies and the perception that Bogotá is unsafe.
The numbers from subsecretary Daniel Mejía show that 6,534 persons reported they were victims of street crime, down 116 cases from the same eight months last year. The area where crime saw a significant reduction is Bogotá’s centro, followed by Chapinero (403 compared to 518), Santa Fe (385 to 538) and Mártires (233 to 319).
According to Mejía, the security plan boosted police presence in zones where crimes were known to be taking place. “We intervened in 754 critical points of criminality,” said Mejía.
The security expert also spoke of other decisions that have contributed in reducing crime, such as the dismantling drug-infested “ollas” under the control of micro-trafficking cartels. The focus in the days ahead is to extend “interventions” to the locality of Kennedy. Mejía also pointed-out the importance of joint task work between the administration, city police force, intelligence organizations and anti-kidnapping squad Gaula. “These crimes don’t happen by chance, but are planned by organized gangs dedicated to cellphone theft in the centro or stealing in TransMilenio. The dismantling of gangs operating in the city’s center, as well as the integrated public transport system, SITP is helping to reduce crime numbers across the board,” said Mejía.
An undercover elite force of 100 SIJIN police members currently patrol Bogotá’s mass transit bus system TransMilenio. These covert operations have helped reduce robberies within the system 42%, and within the integrated SITP network 36%.
General Hoover Penilla, commander of Bogotá’s Metropolitan Police, affirms that the consolidated efforts between police, the Attorney General’s office and XIII Army Brigade is slowly returning confidence to the streets of the capital. “The divisions within previous administrations only led to more crime, as those we witnessed during the last 12 years,” he said.