Colombia’s Defense Minister announced 400 extra police officers to improve security of the capital city’s public transport system, but that’s not even half the mayor believes he needs to guarantee commuters’ safety.
Defense Minister Pinzon announced that he will activate a special task force of 400 officers to patrol Transmilenio bus stations during peak hours. The announcement came after he personally visited several stations last Saturday and reportedly found major flaws in the bus station security system.
“The number of auxiliary Transmilenio police went from 950 in 2008 to 350 in 2015…If 10% of Bogota’s population are in Transmilenio stations during rush hour, then 10% of city’s police should be there too,” said Petro.
Currently there are 950 security officers, 330 of whom are soldiers, the rest working undercover, according to the Defense Minister’s website. There are an estimated 6.7 million people currently living within the city limits of Bogota.
In addition to the newly appointed task force, Pinzon also declared that anyone who can provide information an impending attack or robbery would be rewarded $1 million pesos.
The robbery last week only added to a hastily increasing crisis throughout the country, in which thieves will sometimes hold buses full of people hostage, and other times will rob entire terminals.
In response to the increase in massive robberies in Bogota, President Juan Manuel Santos acknowledged the issue on his website. Said Santos via Twitter, “Security of the citizens is a priority. We are taking measures against crime in the Transmilenio.”
Santos’ promises of increasing police presence has been a recurring theme, but he has not effectively enacted them. Last year he promised to raise the number of officers in stations by 300, but allegedly never followed through.
Santos was also scheduled to tour the stations from May 22nd-23rd, but stepped forward earlier due to the assault last week. In his speech, he declared he has a pilot plan and that they are in the process of developing it.
“Se necesitan mil efectivos más en el Transmilenio, no 330”: Alcalde Gustavo Petro (Bogota mayor’s website)
TransMilenio contará con Policía Especializada y 400 efectivos más (Defense minister website)
400 policías más para reforzar seguridad en Transmilenio (El Colombiano)