In recent weeks, Bogota citizens have seen that people are losing their lives due to unleashed crime and the increase in criminal acts, even in broad daylight.
According to data from the Ministry of Security, bicycle theft increased 35.8% between January and October of this year, compared to the first 10 months of 2019, and homicide grew by 1.5% in the same period.
To this is added that last October there were increases in personal injuries (2.4%) and vehicle theft (11%). Other crimes are down, but experts attribute this to the prolonged lockdown.
Even so, the city continues to see images of armed robbers attacking their victims (see videos of recent cases of insecurity in Bogotá), made of hitmen (video of hitman murdering a man in a taxi) and disputes of criminal organizations (see video of shooting between gangs), that many years ago were not seen in the capital.
Every time citizens know of a new case, or are victims of these crimes, remember that in campaign Claudia Lopez I affirm that would be “the chief of police who would make criminals tremble”, That is why the people of Bogotá — especially the one million voters of the mayor — demand that she fulfill that promise.
Pulzo contacted councilors, experts and the District Government to understand what is happening around the insecurity in Bogotá and what is being done to lower the high rates of certain crimes and prevent others from trending upward.
Insecurity in Bogotá: What do the crime figures say?
The Security and Coexistence Indicators bulletin, from the Bogotá Security Secretariat, as of October 2020, details where is the concern of citizens and authorities going.
Homicide, for example, had an increase of 1.5% between January and October compared to the previous year. In that period of 2019 there were 823 violent deaths in the city and in 2020 there were 835. Ciudad Bolívar, Kennedy and Suba are the most affected localities.
Furthermore, the trend has continued to rise during the second half of the year: in July there were 65 victims; in August, 83 and in September, 103. Only until October it fell and stood at 82.
But from the Mayor’s Office they do not seem to see such a negative panorama, since the Secretary of Security, Hugo Acero, told Pulzo that he has the “confidence” that by the end of the year it will achieve a decrease in homicide indicators because they go after gangs that kill with hitmen.
At crime of personal injuries there was a reduction of 30%, since in 2019 there were 19,246 cases and this year, 13,406. However, in the October comparison, 2020 also reported a 2.4% increase compared to the same month last year.
The theft data in different scenarios they have had variations. The following table compares the months of October 2019 and 2020 and shows that vehicle theft had an increase of 11%, while the other crimes fell:
|Crimes||October 2019||October 2020|
|Theft of persons||11.332||6.804|
|Theft from residences||842||705|
|Cell phone theft||5.078||4.415|
The bike theft it also rose compared to the previous year. According to the District’s data, there are 5 localities that concentrate 61.4% of this crime (see which areas of Bogotá are most stolen bicycles and how to report a theft):
– Kennedy: 16,7 %
– Engativá: 14,9 %
– Climb: 13.5%
– Bosa: 9,5%
– Fontibón: 6,8 %
This is the total trend for the year, which shows an important peak in the month of May:
Of the 8,955 bicycles stolen in 2020, 49.9% of the cases were in robberies, 41.4% in situations of opportunity, 5.2% in establishments and 3.6% through deception.
24% of thefts are committed in the early morning, 30% in the morning, another 24% in the afternoon and the remaining 22% at night. Furthermore, 80.3% of the victims are men and 19.7% are women.
People also reported that in 48% of the cases they were assaulted without weapons, 32% with knives, 12% with firearms, 5% with other blunt objects and in 3% of the cases they used levers.
Néstor Rosanía, director of the Center for Security and Peace Studies, indicated that some of the actions to attack bicycle theft is that there are more police officers patrolling the bike lanes. The expert drew attention to do maintenance on them —light them and pave them— because “if there is uncleanliness or bad infrastructure, that bike path becomes a source of insecurity”.
Opinions from the Bogotá Council
In recent weeks, the District Council has held at least three debates related to security in Bogotá. As well as some councilors assure that progress has been made, others say that the Bogotá Mayor’s Office does not pay attention to the complaints made there.
A few days ago, the British newspaper The Guardian described Bogotá as the “capital of death for cyclists”. At the time, the Secretary of Security, Hugo Acero, described the headline as “unfair.”
However, councilor Jorge Colmenares, from the Democratic Center, considers that “the headline is completely true because Bogotans prefer to use another transportation system before going to Transmilenio or SITP, and they have no guarantees when taking their bike out if they come across a thief”.
For his part, Councilor Julián Rodríguez, from Alianza Verde, the mayor’s government party Claudia Lopez, noted that It is useless for the authorities to adopt “a denialist stance” and an “excuse for not responding as they should to questions from citizens.”
What do the councilors propose to improve security in Bogotá?
Rodriguez says that The Mayor’s Office of Bogotá must identify the hot spots where thefts occur most and that they have “a police force, mobile CAIs on a rotating basis throughout the city, especially at road intersections and bridges.”
For its part, Colmenares calls for new technologies to identify criminals and increase force. “The Mayor’s Office is requesting new policemen, but it must support them because when they do their job they cannot present themselves as enemies of the city, ”he added.
Acero assured Pulzo that targeting actions in certain areas of the city, as requested by councilors, are precisely those that have allowed the reduction in most crimes.
Surveillance cameras in Bogotá
The councilor of the Democratic Center also said that in the security debates he has made “complaints that have been ignored by the Mayor’s Office.” Colmenares points out that several months ago he delivered a report to Acero in which he indicated that there are “200 cameras in strategic points of the city that are completely inactive.”.
“The secretary was pointed out point by point where they did not work and it is the hour that nothing has happened. They have not disassembled them, they have not looked for new technologies to increase security ”, he added.
Regarding these cameras, Acero explained that “these are contracts that the Mayor’s Office had in the past with businessmen of cameras that were not renewed and are unused. They are no longer hired ”.
However, he affirmed that the District administration is pointing him to incorporate other security cameras to the ‘C4’ (Command, Control, Communications and Computing Center).
It is about linking 663 Transmilenio cameras, those of the Ministry of Transportation at the entrances of the city, the ‘life-saving’ traffic cameras and 270 points in shopping centers, complexes and individuals. That means that, says Acero, around 2,000 cameras would be added to the 5,000 that are working; although that will not be possible this year and there is no estimate of time to make it effective because legal and technical details are lacking in the agreements.
Crimes in Transmilenio
Colmenares also says that Transmilenio has a contract that exceeds 25.3 billion pesos with a security company for the prevention of theft, but questions its effectiveness because “Now the people of Bogotá join the system and are murdered, and the guilty cannot be found”.
The contract with the company Unión Temporal GOS 2020 is to protect the system infrastructure, prevent threats to the life and physical integrity of users and contain the casts.
However, crime victims continue to be known in Transmilenio, and the presence of thieves on buses is not uncommon, such as those that just a week ago they took the life of a family man within an articulated, Y even extortion episodes.
And all this despite the fact that the figures show a reduction in crimes in the system, which It could also be explained by the low influx of users during confinement.
Acero explained that one of the strategies in Transmilenio was to attack not only the stations where crimes were most reported, but also the surroundings. “Part of the important achievement in reducing cell phone theft was having controlled Transmilenio,” he said.
What does the Mayor’s Office of Bogotá say about security in the city?
The Secretary of Security delivered results on the first 10 months of his term. Secretary Acero explained that they received a city with “important achievements” and admitted that “the [ex]Mayor Enrique Peñalosa made important advances in security matters “.
Steel said that Peñalosa gave López a city “with a reduction in homicides” and other indicators, but with high increases in other crimes, such as sexual (19.8%).
The official indicated that the Mayor’s Office of Bogotá must recognize that the “feeling of insecurity has increased within citizens” and insisted that it is “due to the series of videos and images that are presented through the networks”, but once again he committed himself to the Bogota citizens:
“Of 10 crimes, 2 are increasing and we have full confidence that in the case of homicide we will end with a favorable result and we will make every effort to reduce bicycle theft.”
Acero also indicated that he has attacked “organized criminal structures” such as gangs of drug trafficking, which is “the crime that most affects security” in Bogota.
The District also hopes to receive “A little over a thousand new policemen” ending 2020, which will be added to the 16,780 soldiers in the capital.
Finally, Rosanía stressed that the greatest success so far of the Ministry of Security is that it is transparent with the dataAs this allows identifying crime hot spots in the city and designing public policies; but he also gave his opinion on what needs to be improved:
“To articulate more to private entities such as the Superintendency of Surveillance, the whole issue of guards and security companies because there is a large volume of information on intelligence issues. These data are lost because they are not articulated with the District and the Police. I think it was the big mistake of the administration ”.
The expert said that the city’s police deficit also has science and technology issues, and insisted that Bogotá “has very little intelligence for the number of citizens and crimes in such a complex country.”