HomeNewsBriefFluctuations in Colombia Murders Reflect Shifting Underworld
BRIEF

Fluctuations in Colombia Murders Reflect Shifting Underworld

COLOMBIA / 5 DEC 2013 BY NATALIE SOUTHWICK EN

Homicides in Colombia have fallen more than nine percent in the last year continuing a national long term trend, but fluctuations in the murder rates in certain regions highlight the continuing violent impact of organized crime turf wars.

Police data for 11 months of 2013 shows a 9.1 percent decrease in the national homicide rate compared to 2012, reported El Tiempo. Police recorded 13,153 homicides as of November 29 -- 1,279 fewer than the previous year.

The city of Cali and its metropolitan area had the country's highest murder rate, recording nearly 2,000 homicides so far in 2013. Homicides also increased in the cities of Buenaventura, Bucaramanga, Pereira and Neiva, and in seven departments.

In contrast, the city of Medellin saw a 26 percent decrease, dropping from 1,137 in 2012 to just 842 this year, while murders in the metropolitan area fell from 1,572 to 1,202. Another notable fall was in the city of Cucuta near the Venezuela border, where there were 312 murders -- 108 less than the year before.

Capital city Bogota remained relatively stable, registering 1,119 murders -- 14 less than in 2012.

InSight Crime Analysis

The statistics confirm a number of trends in Colombia, where overall homicides have been decreasing for more than a decade but specific areas are prone to dramatic fluctuations related to organized criminal activity

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profiles 

In Medellin the large drop in murders has coincided with the criminal pact struck between the previously warring criminal organizations Oficina de Envigado and the Urabeños, making the local authorities' claims it is related to law enforcement initiatives spurious at best.

In contrast Cali has entered a period of "criminal chaos," as street gangs fight bloody territorial battles, many on behalf of the advancing Urabeños or the remnants of the Rastrojos, which are putting up stiff resistance to cling onto territory that was their heartland before the implosion of the group as a national criminal organization.

The Urabeños' attempt to seize what had been Rastrojos territory in the southwest is likely also behind the violence in Buenaventura, where they have been locked into a ferocious battle with a local gang that had previously operated as part of the Rastrojos franchise -- La Empresa. All indications are the Urabeños have now driven out La Empresa and control the port, which may now see a drop in violence. 

This is likely what has happened with the reduction in violence in Cucuta, where although police say the Rastrojos retain a presence in the region, which they once dominated, the Urabeños seem to have won the battle for the city. However, the group now appears to be in the midst of a complex and violent internal dispute, which may reverse the trend.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HOMICIDES / 15 NOV 2022

Villa Española and Peñarol in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, have become the center of fighting between local drug trafficking gangs.

COLOMBIA / 1 APR 2021

As in the darkest days of Colombia's civil conflict, armed groups across the country continue to enlist and exploit teenage…

COCAINE / 24 NOV 2021

An unusually drawn-out feud between two rival gangs in northern Costa Rica has left over 150 people dead in five…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…