There has been an 9.9% drop in the number of homicides in Bogotá during the first four months of 2017 compared to last year, said Mayor Enrique Peñalosa last week.
From the start of January through the end of April, 357 homicides occurred in the capital, which was 39 fewer than the 396 reported during the same period in 2016, according to the mayor. “We have been able to reduce the main indicators of insecurity, but we have also increased confidence in the authorities,” said Peñalosa.
The mayor, during a ceremonial delivery of vehicles to the police force in the city, also said that vehicle theft was down 4.5% so far in 2017. Among all crimes and infractions, the capital recorded 12,486 arrests during these four months.
The homicide trend in Bogotá continues to build on the progress seen last year, when Colombia’s national homicide rate — 24.4 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016 — reached a level not seen since 1974, according to the government. “This is a country that definitely is advancing in its conversion to a much more civilized and peaceful society,” said Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas in January.
Those 2016 national numbers improved in part due to a historically low murder rate in the capital that fell 6% compared to 2015. Overall, Bogotá had a homicide rate of 15.8 per 100,000 inhabitants last year. Armed robberies of stores also fell 30% in 2016, while the common crime of mobile phone theft dropped by 20%, according to the mayor.
In 2016, the western Colombian city of Cali also reported its lowest homicide rate in nearly three decades. Medellín, however, saw murders jump by 7.9% in 2016 compared to the 2015 level as an increase in violence raged between armed groups in Colombia’s second city.
Photo credit: Jared Wade