For the second consecutive year, homicides in Colombia are increasing, according to the country’s medical examiner’s office.
According to a preliminary report, 8,612 were murdered between January and September, a 2.1% increase compared to the same period last year.
This deadly violence intensified in the third quarter of the year when homicides went up 4.2% compared to the same three months last year.
The Botero effect
The increase in deadly violence is bad news for embattled Defense Minister Guillermo Botero under whose watch deadly violence stopped a years-long downward trend and started to rise again.
In fact, the minister contradicted the medical examiner’s office statistics in July when he told press homicides had gone down.
Botero’s ministry stopped updating its monthly statistics in May, but the Medical Examiner’s Office has not.
More than 58% of the homicide victims are between 18 and 34 years old, according to the office, which said that approximately 90% of the victims are male.
Medical Examiner General Adriana Garcia told newspaper El Tiempo that the dynamics of deadly violence have changed since the demobilization of the FARC, which laid down its weapons in 2017.
The acts of violence are being generated by intolerance. The homicides are not like the ones we were talking about years ago, because of big violent events or armed confrontations.
Medical Examiner Adriana Garcia via El Tiempo
Homicides up mainly outside capital cities
The increase in homicides is largely due to increased violence outside the country’s 33 capital cities where the number of homicides only increased half a percent.
Medical examiner contradicts statistics
Despite the particularly sharp increase in deadly violence outside the country’s largest cities, Garcia told newspaper El Tiempo that it would be the policies of incoming mayors of the capitals that could have the most effect on a reduction of violence.
Contradicting her own statistics, the medical examiner general claimed that the country has experienced “a strengthening of security policy in areas where homicides were growing. This is due to a strengthening of the actions of the Public Force and other entities.”
“Since the new government took office, it is undeniable that the growth rate of almost all crimes has decreased,” said Garcia without statistics that would back up this claim.