On April 21, Bolivia and Brazil created the Integrated Office Against Organized Crime, which will meet once a month and consolidate efforts to combat transnational crime. The Bolivian government and the Secretariat of Justice and Public Security (SEJUSP) of the Brazilian state of Acre led the initiative.
“We concluded an important meeting in Santa Cruz [Bolivia], where we discussed issues related to citizen security on the border,” said Bolivian Government Minister Eduardo del Castillo, Bolivia’s state-run Agencia Boliviana de Información (ABI) reported.
This is the first office that a Brazilian state created with the participation of foreign authorities to combat crime on the border, Brazilian website G1 reported.
“The meeting was straight forward and enlightening, as it sought important shortcuts for the public security system and for the integration and coordination of comprehensive actions,” Colonel Ulysses Araújo, SEJUSP Operations director, said, Brazilian news site AcreTV reported.
The tasks of the Integrated Office Against Organized Crime will include joint police patrolling in the border region, the creation of response networks and immediate police actions, and the establishment of liaison officers and contact personnel, reported Bolivian news site La Voz de Tarija.
The Office will also promote the exchange of information between the Bolivian and Brazilian police and between migration control institutions and the police, as well as schedule periodic meetings to evaluate actions carried out, ABIreported. Authorities have also planned to hold the 2nd Bolivia-Brazil Border Region Citizen Security Meeting in May, the Bolivian Ministry of Government said on its website.
Rise in crime
The creation of the Office responds to an increase in crime in the border region. “In late March and early April, clashes between criminal groups intensified on the Brazilian border with Bolivia,” G1 reported.
The death in Bolivia of the head of a narco group seemingly precipitated the new clashes. “The assassination order came from inside the prison in the Bolivian city of Riberalta and, after the crime, several attacks were registered both in the neighboring country and in the border cities of Acre,” G1 reported.
According to the Brazilian news site, the Alto Acre region registered the highest number of violent crimes, but crime also increased in Rio Branco (the state capital) and in municipalities, such as Senador Guiomard, Sena Madureira, and Bujari.
“Combating transnational crime is an issue that concerns all the countries that are affected, and it is only by working in coordination that we can protect our citizens,” Minister Del Castillo said.