As Christmas approaches authorities of Colombia’s Antioquia department gather to discuss preparations to ensure the safety of the citizens throughout the festive season.
On Wednesday, Antioquian government authorities and police presented to representatives of the local community the proposed security plan intended to ensure that Christmas 2009 be only about celebration.
As part of this plan they are suggesting the deployment of some 12,000 extra policemen to patrol the streets of towns in the Antioquia region throughout December.
“We are going to make a great effort to reward people who disclose information to authorities which will help us to dismantle any illegal groups intending to peddle alcohol, contraband and conduct other illicit activities,” stated the secretary of the Antioquian government, Andres Julian Rendon.
The authorities also reiterated their intention to offer rewards of up to US$1 million for individuals giving information about the locations of illegal gunpowder producers. They also emphasized the heavy penalty attached to irresponsible handling of fireworks, reported newspaper El Colombiano Thursday.
With regard to the Christmas security plan, Colonel Jorge Andres Rodriguez Borbon stated that “this idea is to have prepared strategies so that we minimize risks and threats to civil security.”
However, the colonel stressed that the responsibility to guarantee safety did not lie solely with the police and every individual must take diligent care of their own security as well as looking out for their contemporaries.
The police noted reminders such as not leaving the house alone at night, collaborate with neighbors to keep an eye on each other’s welfare, do not give out one’s address to strangers and report suspicious goings on to authorities.
The Antioquian capital, Medellin, is well into preparations for this year’s Christmas festivities, having already begun by lighting the lavish and acclaimed array of colorful lights – which this year are dedicated to the theme of water.
If one is in the area over the Christmas period and in the event of noticing something anomalous or if one would like more information, click here.