1,628 homicides were registered in the Colombian capital Bogota in 2009, signalling a steady increase for the second consecutive year according to forensic statistics.
Figures provided by agency Medicina Legal revealed that between January 1 and December 28 there were 1,628 murders reported throughout Bogota which confirmed 162 cases more than the whole of 2008.
This figure signifies a current average of 4.4 homicides per day. Medicina Legal’s report shows a rising violent trend since 2007 in the capital. In 2007 there were 1,401 cases – with an average of 3.8 per day and in 2008, homicides rose to 1,466 – 4 per day, reported newspaper El Tiempo Wednesday.
Bogota’s government secretary, Clara Lopez Obregon, acknowledged that homicides increased from 1 January to 27 December which indicated a 12 percent increase compared to the same period in 2008. Obregon attributed the increase to the presence and spread of emerging illegal gangs in the city and the theme of drug trafficking, which has more than 450 outlets.
However, the official insisted that the murder rate in Bogota is still the lowest compared to other Colombian cities such as Medellin and she added that from October the upward trend was halted.
According to figures the city’s worst months were October with 172 homicides, followed by March with 147. Over the last four weeks the violent trend has slowed with 134 cases compared to December 2008 in which there were 156.
On a national level Medicina Legal reported a 2 percent decrease in homicides across the country: to date15,800 murders were registered in Colombia, while last year there were 16,140. According to the National Police, 2009 represents one of the lowest homicide rates in Colombia for the last 23 years with an overall reduction in 300 murders compared to 2008.
With regard to improvement strategies for 2010 the secretary stated that “an important input will be technology investment and integration with mobile video surveillance and clever police patrols. The idea is to integrate them through a fast communications network, with immediate response groups that are motorized and have a superior ability to act. We are talking about the technological integration of surveillance cameras that exist today.”