At least 47% of the 15,400 murders which took place in Colombia in 2010 were committed by assassins, according to the national police, El Tiempo reported Tuesday.
The cities of Cali and Medellin have the highest number of murders committed by these assassins, known as “sicarios,” as well as the most powerful “Oficinas de Cobro” (“collection agencies” that commit these crimes), which have been expanding their business into other regions.
“The cities have been affected by the transfer to urban warfare for territorial control of both trafficking and micro-trafficking,” said General Jose Roberto Leon, director of public safety.
Alongside the hired assassins of drug gangs, however, there are also a significant number of murders related to the settling of personal accounts, crimes of passion and economic troubles.
The price of murder is low, according to General Leon, who said “There are cases in which someone kills for COP50,000 ($27).”
In these cases, it is usually homeless people or minors who will carry out the murder, although some minors have claimed to earn up to around $1,000 for the crime, according to the report.
The growing concern has prompted the government to submit measures to Congress, intending to stop the sicarios through increased penalties for minors, as well as for those hire them.
Last year there were around 500 minors arrested for murder, as child assassins continue to be a problem in the country.