Homicides in Colombia’s second largest city Medellin are on a steady rebound after showing a decline for two consecutive years.
While the number of homicides between January and October this year are still 27% lower than during the same period last year, the declining trend that began in 2010 turned after Mayor Anibal Gaviria took office in January.
Between then and October, homicides went up 76%, statistics of the local coroner’s office show.
In October, 120 people were murdered, a 33.3% increase compared to the same month last year.
While steadily climbing throughout 2012, the number of monthly homicides began exceeding last year’s numbers in September, something that has not been seen in Medellin since April 2010 when a war between rival factions of crime syndicate “Oficina de Envigado” came to an end and homicides began to drop.
The increasing homicide rates in Medellin coincide with the arrest of Oficina capo “Sebastian” in August and increasing pressure on local gangs by neo-paramilitary group “Los Urabeños” that has taken control of the rural areas around the city and has taken over crucial territories within the city limits.
In response to the violence, Colombia’s defense minister, Juan Carlos Pinzon, last week promised to send an extra 1,000 policeman to Medellin in 2013.