While Colombia’s National Police claims a decrease in homicides in 2009, it admits the murder rate in the three largest cities grew explosively. However, numbers released by other judicial bodies indicate the number of homicides is going up.
Nationally, the police claim the number of homicides fell from 16,140 in 2008 to 15,817 in 2009.
However, local bodies claim far higher murder rates. A report by the local coroners office says that in the year up until December 20, 2,093 people were assassinated. Media reports say that on Christmas Eve alone 33 people were assassinated.
Medellin’s ombudsman told local newspaper El Mundo the police must have made a mistake in their calculations. According to the ombudsman’s spokesman, the real number of homicides in Medellin in 2009 was 2,200.
In Bogota, the country’s capital, 1,628 homicides were registered, signalling a steady increase for the second consecutive year according to forensic statistics. Bogota’s government secretary, Clara Lopez Obregon, acknowledged that homicides increased in the period January 1 to December 27 by 12% compared to the same period in 2008.
The police’s more positive figures are based on a decrease in the murder rate in smaller cities. Local media did not verfiy these with the local ombudsmen offices or corroner’s offices.