“More police officers and a stronger security presence are some of goals that we hope to accomplish in the country,” said Santos, according to the newspaper Vanguardia.
The new police reinforcements are an addition to the 1,000 police officers that had previously been installed in Medellin, bringing the total to 2,000 new police officers in recent months.
Santos also called on the mayor of Medellin, Anibal Gaviria, to work with the backing of the government as a means of maintaining security in the city.
“This administration has done what no other was able to. It has brought justice to Medellin. Medellin has a much lower crime rate than other major cities in the country, which has to do with the number of police officers,” responded Gaviria. According to Vanguardia, she went on to describe the amount as a “historic number,” which will “continue contributing to the security of Medellin.”
On the same day, Santos announced that his administration will make a new effort to tackle criminal gangs that are engaged in micro-extortion and micro-trafficking.
“I have given instructions to the police, commanders of the Armed Forces, and Defense Minister Juan Carlon Pinzon, that our next high-priority objective are the criminals that belong to micro-extortion and micro-trafficking gangs, because that is where crime is originating.”
In regards to Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city, Santos said, “It is no longer the city that everyone remembers, all the cartel bosses are in the grave.”
Despite the statements made by both politicians, a report released by the Medellin ombudsman in February revealed both a 20% increase in disappearances in the Medellin area for 2013, and an 88% increase in disappeared persons later found murdered.
Santos’ emphasis on security comes after a shift in the polls, which saw the incumbent president drop 8 points, from 31% to 23%, according to a poll by Cifras & Conceptos.
Elections for Colombia’s highest seat in office take place on May 25, in which Santos will compete with four other candidates.
Santos will have to face a run-off in a second round if he fails to obtain more than 50% of the votes in the initial round.
The president was first elected in 2010, but is aiming for a second term during which he hopes to complete ongoing peace talks with rebel groups FARC.
Durante entrega de 1000 policías en Medellín repudiamos vil asesinato de nuestros héroes. NO bajaremos la guardia! pic.twitter.com/b7ZnmLkz5E
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) April 8, 2014