Ecuador’s National Police statistics show that crime in Azuay Province declined more than 14% in 2014 with a similar drop for the city of Cuenca.
Azuay home burglaries dropped 23% while crimes against persons were down by 26%. The number of murders also declined, from 44 to 37, a drop of 19%.
Germán Cevallos, regional police commander, credits new strategies for the decline. “We are committing more resources to areas that have historically had the most crime and enforcing liquor laws and ordinances,” he said. “We are also increasing our intelligence gathering in high crime areas,” he said.
Over the weekend, police and customs officials closed several liquor stores and bars for selling smuggled liquor. They closed other liquor stores for lack of permits and operating beyond legal hours. They also made 17 arrests for public drinking.
In Cuenca, neighborhoods that have seen increased police patrols are Cayambe, La Merced, El Vado, San Roque, Remigio Crespo, Feria Libre, Nueve de Octubre, El Vecino and Terminal Terrestre.
The Interior Ministry, which is responsible for police operations in the country, says that increased enforcement of liquor laws is a major factor in crime reduction across the country. The ministry also says that Ecuador’s 911 emergency call services, now operational in 95% of the country, and thousands of surveillance cameras in major cities, have also contributed to crime reduction.
Photo credit: El Tiempo.