New security measures for Bogotá ahead of elections

Alcaldía de Bogotá

Almost a week after two minors were killed – a 12-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl – when an explosive device detonated in front of a police command post (CAI) in Bogotá and that also left 10 civilians injured, Mayor Claudia López introduced on Thursday, a series of measures to boost security in the Colombian capital.

The measures that begin on April 11, and last until the end of June, aim to curb potential attacks by criminal groups during an electoral campaign season that includes the first-round of the presidential vote on May 29. Among the heightened security measures is restricting the movement of motorcycles with two persons from 7pm to 4am, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Mayor Claudia López asked President Iván Duque to call an emergency session of a security council between the national government and district administration after the bombing of the CAI in the southern locality of Ciudad Bolívar. Among other agreements to protect the Colombian capital from future attacks are an extra 1,000 members of the National Police, and 200 soldiers, to control the key entrance points to the capital. “The objective of these check points is to shield Bogotá that no element can enter and affect the population,” said Coronel Chavarro of the National Police.

These joint military and police check points will be set up along Calle 80, Calle 13, Carrera 7, AutoNorte, vía al Llano and the vía Choachí.

The Mayoralty also decreed that all commercial establishments that operate at night, and until 5 am, including bars, casinos and night clubs, must affiliate themselves to a neighborhood crime watch or community-led security groups. Mayor López warned that any establishment that is involved in a situation where police are required, could be fined or have its business operation license suspended.

The drinking of alcohol in all parks and green spaces between 10pm and 4am will also be outlawed, as well as gatherings of persons, during these same hours. Bogotá’s public transportation system TransMilenio will also get more police, distributed among 26 “priority zones,” and that include Chapinero, Suba and Usaquén. The extra police include judicial investigators, intelligence officers and anti-theft units.