The criminal bands that have been found are reportedly responsible for a large number of the 11,800 cases of high impact crimes reported in the city between January and May of this year.
City police records indicate that these groups specialize mainly in drug micro-trafficking, theft from persons, houses, businesses and cars, falsification of documents and homicide. A majority of the gangs — 30% — are dedicated to theft of personal items, such as cell phones.
According to El Tiempo, police have made 978 arrests this year to combat these type of structures, which are particularly affecting the city’s Kennedy and Suba neighborhoods.
The criminal gangs are usually made up of three to 15 members. Not all of the criminal gangs have organized structures; some form just for the purpose of executing one criminal act, and then separate. Others, meanwhile, such as “Los Fresas,” operating in north Bogota, are organized, armed, and have a transportation system and intelligence personnel.
Some of the bands try to pass themselves off as part of larger criminal groups such as “Aguilas Negras” or “Los Paisas,” for the purpose of intimidating local residents, but the gangs are not actually related to the new wave of criminal bands that the government has labeled “BACRIM.”