Medellin authorities Thursday announced that so far this year more
than 1050 people were murdered in Colombia’s second largest city, which
is more than in the whole year of 2008.
Police say the high number of murders is due to an ongoing warfare between local gangs that are disputing territory or the control over ‘plazas de vicio’, locations where drugs is traded and conflicts between nationally operating gangs like that of ‘Don Mario and ‘The Office of Envigado’.
According to Fabio Rivera, member of Medellin’s city council, the increase of violent deaths is not just because of an ongoing war between criminals. “For example, 12 died in massacres, 44 were double homicides and 33 were killed through mechanical asphyxia.”
Secretary of Government, Jesus Ramirez, admits that the violence “now is affecting daily life in many neighborhoods and [is causing] the death of many innocent people.”
Rivera adds that the high number of homicides undoes the increased security it obtained over the past few years as the statistics are equal to that of 2003.
According to Medellin’s district attorney, Maria Penagos, more than half of the murder suspects is released, because the legal time the prosecution has to look for evidence before indicting a suspect is not enough.
The local Police Department says to be on schedule in the deployment of an extra 1,000 police officers. They should be on active duty by December.