Supporting President Rafael Correa’s recent crime reduction agenda, Cuenca announced several new measures last week to fight crime in the city.
At his Saturday television broadcast, Correa announced new crime statistics showing a nation-wide reduction of crime in seven of the nine major categories.”We want to continue this trend,” he said. “We want to make the country the safest in Latin America,”
Cuenca announced that 100 new national police officers were being assigned to patrol duties in the canton. At the same time, 85 new municipal police, or citizen guards, have been added to the local force. According to Fabiola Ochoa, Director of the Cuenca Board of Public Safety, the new officers would focus on high crime areas and increase surveillance during nighttime and early morning hours, periods when the crime rate is highest.
The city is also working with neighborhood groups to improve crime reporting and prevention. One program involves the installation of sirens and strobe lights in four areas of the city that can be triggered from 64 households with “alarm buttons.” Ruth Caldas, director of the program, says the intent is to reestablish confidence in neighbhorhoods with high crime rates. The neighborhood alarms will signal Cuenca’s ECU-911 system so police can respond.
Police also announced last week that they would increase patrols in several areas with high rates of crime and vandalism. One of those is near the interection of Calle Larga and Presidente Borrero, known for overnight drug sales.
New National Police statistics show that crime in Cuenca is down in six of nine crime categories. One exception was murder, which was up in 2013.
Photo caption: New members of the Cuenca Citizen Guard in Parque Calderon