Medellin Mayor Alonso Salazar will spend two consecutive days in “Communa 1” to experience the security situation first-hand, as he is fed up with the violence plaguing one of the city’s most troubled barrios.
Salazar met with authorities at the Santo Domingo Police Station on Monday to be briefed on the current situation in “Communa 1,” situated in the northeast of Medellin.
According to a press release, the mayor expressed his dismay over the lack of government power to tackle the problems of crime and violence in the area. The mayor implored “the national government and Prosecutor General’s office to make the necessary decisions, such as having specialized prosecutors to address the situation in Medellin” and to “authorize the interception of phone calls” in the area.
Since Friday, the mayor has been touring the area and talking with residents in order to get a clearer idea of the situation facing people. “I have been, since Friday, touring the area, and the community is seeking the presence of authority, they are ready to collaborate”, the mayor was quoted as saying.
He went on to explain that those responsible for the murders and violence in the neighborhood must be brought to justice, and that he is shocked that arrest warrants haven’t even been issued for local criminal leaders known to be behind the deteriorating security situation.
“We cannot wait any more for orders to capture [those responsible, who are] people we have completely identified, but for whom the judicial decisions have not met the pace we wanted. It’s not necessarily the fault of the prosecution nor of the judges, but I don’t understand how it could be possible that a person like Caballo, who has been involved in 80% of homicides since September, doesn’t have a warrant for his arrest.”
The mayor concluded by saying that the prosecution and police should work together and focus on what they’ve accomplished thus far, but that the hold-up is between those two institutions.
Medellin’s “Comuna 1” used to be the pride of the city after crime rates dropped significantly, innovative social programs were implemented and a cable car system and library were built under the leadership of former mayor Sergio Fajardo. But following the demobilization of paramilitary organization AUC and the extradition of “Don Berna,” the paramilitary leader who ran Medellin’s underworld, violence has soared in the city, especially in the north east.