The Colombian government on Monday announced a $2 billion investment to improve security in the country’s largest cities where murder rates have gone up in the past two years.
“What we are presenting today is a Citizen Security Policy that will be tough on crime and the causes of crime,” President Juan Manuel Santos said at a press conference in Cali.
According to Santos, the new urban security policy can make Colombian cities the safest in Latin America within a few years.
The government hopes to achieve this through prevention programs, tougher penalties for underage criminals and an increase in the amount of policemen in the cities.
Santos said urban crime is what affects Colombians the most in their daily life and because of that requires an investment of this magnitude.
“Crime is a thousand-headed monster that can manifest itself in a thousand ways; theft, robbery, extortion, kidnapping and homicide. But crime is not a permanent condition. We can defeat it and we will defeat it,” the president said.
The government plans to spend part of the budget in urban culture, education and sports to improve the sense of solidarity.
A second pillar of the policy is the improving of tools available to the country’s justice system and security forces to catch, prosecute and jail the perpetrators of crime, including a change in juvenile criminal law to prosecute young offenders.
Finally, Santos called on local authorities to strengthen efforts to fight crime.
“Pay a lot of attention, mayors. Security depends critically on the leadership and commitment of local authorities. This support is essential to success in each city and for each community,” the President said.