The authorities of Medellin and the private sector of the city’s downtown area have agreed to improve security in the center of Colombia’s second largest city.
“We are going to focus on security, recovering public space and the control of irregular or illegal vendors, and mobility,” deputy Mayor Luis Fernando Suarez, responsible for public order in the city, told press.
The downtown area of Medellin, also known as the Comuna 10, has the largest number of retail enterprises in the city, but suffers traditionally from the highest crime rates in the city related to street crime, drug abuse and child prostitution.
To improve security in December, a top month for tourism, the Mayor’s Office announced to multiply the number of policemen downtown by seven.
“It’s the responsibility of all that the center changes and we’ll have a different kind of December,” Medellin police commissioner General Jose Angel Mendoza was quoted as saying by local newspaper El Colombiano.
However, the city seeks improved security on the long term, not just during the tourist high season, business executive Sergio Ignacio Sota told newspaper El Tiempo.
“This is a well coordinated plan with the political will and budget. It will not be only for the Christmas season, but for the remainder of the administration” of Mayor Anibal Gaviria, said Sota.
In order to achieve this, the city began an offensive against drug dealing earlier this year; Police regularly intervene in places that are known hangouts for dealers and consumers of illicit drugs like marijuana, cocaine, “bazuco” and pills.
Additionally, the city announced it has earmarked almost $40 million to improve attention to the center’s homeless population.
The business executives and government officials remained vague about what they plan to do about informal vendors; Plans to diminish illegal trade made last year spurred massive riots in October last year.