Drawn from police academies throughout the country, the new recruits will go to 90 patrol stations in areas that are either highly trafficked by pedestrians or known for high crime rates. Officials said they were not yet sure how long the police would remain in the city.
Although Bogota’s murder rate has dropped in recent years–from 23.4 to 21.5 per 100,000 between 2010 and 2011–National Police chief General Jose Roberto Leon said he remains unsatisfied with security in the nation’s capital.
“We’re good, but we need to be better,” he said, noting the recent murders of Rosa Elvira, discovered semi-naked in Bogota’s National Park on May 23rd, and Juan Guillermo, a lawyer who was killed Sunday after fighting off four people attempting to steal his cell phone. Robert called the incidents “painful cases” that signaled continuing security problems in the city.
The new enforcement strategy would involve dividing the city into monitoring quadrants and better equipping foot patrols, General Luis Eduardo, Bogota’s police chief, said.
The foot patrols will receive cameras, audio recorders, GPS, breathalyzers, speedometers, armor, and other communication devices — all tools to make police more accessible to citizens, Leon told El Espectador newspaper. “When citizens ask for help, we need to help them,” he added. “I don’t want to receive any more calls saying, ‘General Leon, I called the police and no one helped me.'”
Officials said they had tested the new strategy for several months and claimed that the new approach had significantly improved security in the area.