Medellín security initiatives lower homicides by organized crime
By Dialogo September 19, 2014
Thanks to increased patrols and innovative use of technology, police in Medellín are making great strides in reducing homicides related to organized crime.
Civilians have also proven responsive to community outreach efforts, providing information about criminal activity as law enforcement officers spend time in neighborhoods and build trust with the residents.
Consequentially, the number of homicides in Medellín during the first half of 2014 dropped significantly compared to the same period in 2013
“This is the lowest murder rate in decades, and it is something positive,” said Gutiérrez Zuluaga, a former member of the Medellín City Council. He is a consultant for the Ministry of Security in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and for the city of Celaya, Mexico.
There were 369 homicides related to organized crime in the Antioquian capital this year between January 1 and June 30. That’s down from 562 killings during the same time period in 2013.
The rate of killings during the first half of the year declined from 23 per 100,000 residents in 2013 to 15 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014.
‘Great strides’ in reducing violence
“Medellín has made great strides and has resisted all forms of violence. The violence comes in many forms. Homicide is the crime with the highest impact because it affects people's lives,” Gutiérrez Zuluaga said.
Most homicide victims are between 18 and 26 years of age, and homicides are generally committed on the street and at night. During the first six months of 2014, homicides committed with firearms accounted for 63 percent of the killings in Medellín. Homicides committed with bladed weapons accounted for 17 percent of the killings.
Initiatives reduce violence
Several police initiatives have helped reduce organized crime violence in Medellín:
Since 2012, authorities have added an additional 2,000 police officers in Medellín. The ratio of police officers to inhabitants rose from one officer per 1,348 inhabitants at the start of 2012 to one officer per every 518 inhabitants in 2014.
Innovations in technology, including the placement of additional security cameras throughout the city. Authorities increased the number of security cameras in Medellín from 233 in 2011 to 822 by June 30, 2014.
The creation of a new laboratory to conduct firearms examinations, which can link guns to specific crimes, and quickly analyze forensics evidence, such as fingerprints.
Improved gathering and analysis of intelligence. For example, authorities have created an intelligence center for the Metropolitan Police of the Aburrá Valley (MEVAL).
Battling the Oficina de Envigado and the Clan de Úsuga
Two drug trafficking organizations, the Oficina de Envigado and the Clan de Usuga, are responsible for much of the violence in Medellín, according to insightcrime.org.
Security forces have inflicted serious damage against both in recent months.
Law enforcement officers in Medellín captured a man known as “Saya” or “Peluca” August 8. Saya is a suspected member of the Oficina de Envigado, which the Colombian National Police suspects of ordering the killings of two police officers with the Directorate of Drug Enforcement.
And on August 7th, security forces in El Poblado captured Juan Pablo Taborda - also known as “Yordi” or “El Gomelo.” He is the leader of the Odín La Terraza organized crime group, El Colombiano reported. The arrest of Yordi was a cooperative effort that included the Directorate of Drug Enforcement, the Directorate of Criminal Investigation, and the Public Prosecutor's Office No. 24 attached to the National Campaign against Emerging Criminal Groups.
Improved public safety in Medellín
“Medellín has become an example in many areas relating to security and organized crime. The authorities should keep up this fight, we're past the worst of it, and we can't afford to go backwards,” said Gutiérrez Zuluaga.
“We have to create a very human police force, one that is close to the public and effective, in cooperation with the justice system and the Public Prosecutor,” said Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno. He spoke August 26th during a meeting in Medellín attended by the Mayor of Medellín, Aníbal Gaviria Correa, and the director of the National Police, General Rodolfo Palomino.
The defense minister ratified the start up of the special task force made up of prosecutors and members of the Technical Investigation Body (CTI) and the support of the Judicial Police in order to fight against extortion, micro-trafficking, micro-extortion and theft, according to a press release from the Medellín Mayor's Office.
“We have a duty to have a stronger presence with the tools we have, and the Mayor and the public have to duty to bring other elements to the solution in order to make this a more comprehensive response.”
I like it to know about other things that are going on I NEED THEM TO GIVE MORE SECURITY TO THIS COUNTRY It's all very positive for MedellÃn. Security is crucial!!!!