President Santos Highlights Reduction In Crime Numbers In Colombia

By Dialogo
April 05, 2011

President Juan Manuel Santos explained that government forces have succeeded in dislodging illegal armed groups from locations they dominated for decades, causing these criminal structures to become desperate and attack the authorities using cowardly modes of action such as the so-called ‘pistol plan.’

On 31 March, the president highlighted the reduction in crime numbers throughout the country, according to statistics for 2010-2011, up to the present, released by the authorities.

“The trend for all security indicators continues to be positive. That is, we continue improving, and the strategy continues to be the same,” the president said at a business forum sponsored by The Economist.

According to that report, homicides have fallen 4 percent, simple battery 20 percent, kidnapping 24 percent, extortion 46 percent, simple theft 15 percent, and vehicle theft 4 percent.

President Santos affirmed that government forces have succeeded in dislodging illegal armed groups from locations they dominated for decades, creating desperation in these criminal structures.

“We dislodged them from locations they had controlled for thirty or forty years. So they’re desperate. So they’re attacking our police officers. They’ve reached the level of cowardice and deterioration of the ‘pistol plan,’ what Pablo Escobar used to do with police officers: they killed them with a pistol. (Now) they attack them, they let off bursts of rifle fire at them, and then they run for it. They’re desperate because of this,” he explained.

He recalled that his administration has continued the policy of democratic security, in which he himself played a role as defense minister and which he participated in implementing, enabling him to strike heavy blows against the structures of illegal armed groups, such as the FARC.

“We did it when I was defense minister, and the only thing I’ve done is to continue with that policy, which has been very successful in relation to the FARC: the blow struck against the FARC’s top-ranking military commander, ‘Mono Jojoy,’ and what we’ve been doing since then,” he explained.

He reiterated that his administration’s Development Plan includes three priorities: more security, more formal employment, and less poverty.

“In other words, we’re not going to let down our guard in security matters, because we understand better than anyone that security is the basis of investment, of progress, of all other policies. The Romans used to say the same thing: the first law of the Republic has to be security. Without that law functioning well, the other laws become toothless,” he affirmed.