Colombia’s capital reported a decrease in several crimes including homicide, which is down 20% compared to the same period last year.
Official city figures released Thursday recorded 98 murders in Bogota in the month of June, compared to 122 in 2011. The homicide rate sits at its lowest in 30 years, with 16.6 murders per 100,000 people.
Violent crime is also down 23%, car theft dropped 40% and home theft decreased 36% compared to the same period last year.
Mayor Gustavo Petro announced Thursday that a new initiative aimed at involving citizens in the fight against crime would be introduced in Bogota’s 15th district, Antonio Nariño. 80 residents will be given a “panic button” to use when a suspected crime is witnessed. An alarm will chime and the citizen can then speak to a nearby officer on their cell phone, in hopes of cutting down police response time.
“We did the pilot and it worked very well in the neighborhoods of San Antonio and Restrepo. The best weapon against crime is a community working together,” said General Luis Eduardo Martinez, commander of Bogota’s police force.
The goal is that by the end of the year 10,000 businesses and 500 additional residents will own the device, according to Antonio Nariño’s municipal leader, Giovanni Monroy.