During President Juan Manuel Santos’ visit yesterday to the System of Metropolitan Emergencies and Security in Medellin, which followed a teleconference with Police Commanders from ten main cities in the country that analyzed cell phone theft, President Santos highlighted the results of the pilot “Hot Spots” intervention project that was conducted in the City of Medellin.
President Santos stated that the pilot “Hot Spots” intervention project was put into place after former New York City Mayor, Rudolph W. Giuliani’s visit to Colombia in March. Mayor Giuliani helped design the “Hot Spots” strategy in the areas that City Hall and the Police focused on.
A study was conducted by the Universidad de los Andres on the impact of the “Hot Spots” pilot program, and their results were submitted to President Santos yesterday. President Santos indicated that the conclusion of their analysis highlighted that there was a reduction in all criminal activity, specifically stating that there was a 70 percent reduction in criminal activity in the “Hot Spots” zones and filed complaints increased from 30 percent to 67 percent. There was an increase approximately by 20 percent in the perception people had in regards to police presence, due to the police doubling their amount of patrolling from 55 minutes to 101 minutes, and theft of vehicles had a 46 percent reduction. Due to the success of the pilot “Hot Spots” program, this plan will be implemented through the rest of the country.
Cell Phone Theft
President Santos stated that the strategy to combat cell phone theft began on August 20th.
In 2014, Colombia had over one million stolen cell phones – an illegal business that generates more than four hundred million dollars per year.
President Santos made a statement, “Today, after coordinating with the Police, Prosecutors, Dian, Ministry of Tics, Mayors and the private sector, we have obtained the following results: Theft has fallen by 15 percent, sixty-nine thousand cell phones have been recovered, twenty nine [illegal] organizations have been dismantled, and ten thousand five hundred people have been prosecuted for having committed this crime. One thousand sixteen hundred businesses have been intervened with, and in each city they look to capture the 18 most wanted for this crime, whom have already been identified.
President Santos explained that any phone with a suspicious origin will be turned off. He continued to say, “Up until now, they have [turned off] more than four hundred thousand and from here until June of 2016, they will tum off at least two and a half million more … ”
The Mayor of Medellin, Mayor Anibal Gaviria said that it is very clear that there are twenty-nine illegal networks, and that a strategy has been put into place and that the leaders of these networks have been identified.