Santos speaks at citizen security conference

The Colombian government plans to invest a total of $2.3 billion in citizen security for the 2012 to 2015 period, highlighting how localized criminal operations are gaining ground on international drug trafficking as the country's primary security threat.

President Juan Manuel Santos called the funding, which amounts to 2.4% of the country's 2013 national budget, an "unprecedented investment" aimed at improving citizen security. The scheme -- which will be managed by both the national government and 24 municipal governments -- includes the creation of integrated security plans for the participating municipalities and the addition of 25,000 police to the national force, of which 10,000 have already joined.

The president said efforts so far have resulted in a 19 percent reduction in violent deaths and the reduction of robbery by 38 percent for residences, 25 percent for shops, 16 percent for vehicles and 10 percent for individuals, reported El Colombiano

Also included in the budget is an ongoing initiative targeting micro-trafficking -- street level drug dealing -- as well as a new offensive announced by Santos to tackle contraband smuggling, which he said would see a "frontal assault" targeting groups involved in the trade and the legitimate businesses that support it. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Santos' budget announcement followed shortly after the murder of a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent in Bogota by assailants believed to have been attempting an express kidnapping. The murder, thought to be connected to a local criminal network of thieves, put the issue of citizen security front and center.

Earlier in June, Colombia's national police chief announced police took down 786 criminal gangs in 2012 and stated that ongoing operations to counter micro-trafficking have been 92 percent effective thus far. Though these numbers were framed as successes, they also highlight the proliferation of small-scale organized criminal activity in Colombia, which has been fuelled by the fragmentation of larger criminal organizations.

Small criminal networks often do not operate in isolation. In June, one Colombian official called contraband trafficking a "national security phenomenon" after contraband networks believed to launder money for the FARC were linked to the murder of an official from the country's tax and customs police (DIAN). Micro-traffickers similarly have connections with larger criminal groups such as the Urabeños, who serve as wholesalers or take a cut of profits.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...