Colombia’s capital Bogota will ban the carrying of weapons for a trial period of three months in an attempt to lower the city’s crime rates, the city’s mayor announced Tuesday.
The commander of the Army’s 13th Brigade, who has jurisdiction over the banning of weapons, agreed to the ban after meeting with Mayor Gustavo Petro who had called for the ban when inaugurated on January 1.
The ban will be accompanied by an aggressive media campaign to encourage the surrendering of weapons, Petro said at a press conference.
“The carrying of weapons is not a defense measure, it’s a risk,” while disarmament “is a security, not an insecurity measure,” he claimed.
The Bogota mayor said the proposal sought to “leave the monopoly on arms to the State and generate a culture of tolerance and love.”
While the measure will initially be implemented for three months, it will become permanent if it shows it leads to a measurable reduction in crime.
Bogota follows the example of Colombia’s second largest city Medellin where the army and the new mayor announced a weapons ban for a trial period of a year.
According to official statistics, 1,016 homicides were committed with firearms in Bogota in 2011.