HomeNewsBriefSecurity Surge in Colombia Unlikely to Produce Lasting Results
BRIEF

Security Surge in Colombia Unlikely to Produce Lasting Results

COLOMBIA / 16 OCT 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Colombia plans to launch a new security initiative targeting over 100 criminal groups operating in major cities, but the temporary police surge is unlikely to have a lasting impact on urban crime.

Earlier this week, President Juan Manuel Santos announced a 90-day security surge in eleven Colombian cities designed to combat homicide, extortion, micro-trafficking, robbery, contraband, and illegal mining, reported El Pais.

The plan involves deploying more police officers to areas of the target cities with high incidences of crime. One thousand police officers currently in administrative positions will be sent out to patrol the streets, reported El Tiempo. Security forces will also target 102 criminal groups identified as the country's most dangerous, which police have been tasked with dismantling by January 20, 2015. In addition, security operations will be reinforced by helicopters manned by anti-drug police, who will provide both surveillance and support for those on the ground.

Security experts consulted by El Pais expressed skepticism about the plan. One expert told the newspaper he feared crime rates would return to normal once the security surge ends in January, as has happened with similar security initiatives in the past. Similarly, Rodolfo Escobero from the NGO Ideas Para la Paz told El Pais these types of interventions tend to improve a city's image without making any fundamental changes.

InSight Crime Analysis

Although the 90-day security plan may temporarily reduce urban crime, it is unlikely to result in a lasting change in criminal dynamics. Once the extra police return to their desk jobs at the end of January, criminal groups will likely go back to their current activities. In addition, the goal of dismantling 102 criminal groups in three months seems overly ambitious and may end up producing fewer results than a strategy prioritizing only the most dangerous of these groups.

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profiles

Given these shortcomings, the initiative seems designed more to reduce the perception of insecurity than create lasting security gains. Santos has been attacked by opponents for what some see as a worsening security situation, and according to the 2012 Citizen Security Survey conducted by the government statistic agency DANE (pdf), over 60 percent of respondents felt their city was unsafe.

The initiative might be more successful if combined with citizen security measures and social programs. In Cali, for example, authorities have attributed a recent reduction in homicides to a combination of increased security force presence, a disarmament campaign, and social programs for youth from vulnerable areas. Disarmament programs have also proven successful in Bogota and Medellin.  

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

COLOMBIA / 6 MAY 2022

After the Urabeños’ former leader, alias Otoniel, was extradited to the United States this week, the group ordered a show…

EL SALVADOR / 23 JUN 2021

On the eve of the extradition of top leaders of El Salvador’s feared Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang to the United…

COLOMBIA / 18 MAY 2021

The killing of a notorious Colombian dissident guerrilla leader on Venezuelan soil has the potential to destabilize underworld dynamics in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…