Ecuador will establish a special police unit to investigate extortion and kidnappings

Mar 15, 2024 | 0 comments

The government announced Wednesday it is creating a specialized police force to investigate crimes of extortion, including kidnappings.

A new police unit will concentrate on extortion and kidnappings.

According to National Police Colonel Byron Ramos, head of the National Directorate of Crimes Against Life (Dinased), the team will act mainly in cities such as Guayaquil, Quito, Manta and Esmeraldas where extortion crime has increased in the first three months of 2024.

In an interview with the Teleamazonas channel, Ramos said that the National Police will assign a contingent that will work specifically in the fight against extortion. “Of the 2,300 recently graduated police officers, 800 will be assigned to investigative activities, with most joining the new anti-extortion unit,” he said.

Ramos added that the new unit will be led by veteran investigators.

A recent police report acknowledged that some crimes in Guayaquil continue to increase, especially extortion of businesses and citizens, and kidnappings. “Overall, crime has been reduced by the emergency measures, especially murder, but we must now meet the new challenge of crimes of extortion.

Official figures revealed that between January and March of 2023, the number of kidnappings and extortions reached 120. However, in the same period of 2024 that volume rose to 618. More than half of those crimes occurred in Guayaquil.

According to authorities, criminals who kidnap or extort demand sums ranging between $2,000 to $200,000 per victim.

On March 8, Ecuador completed two months under a state of emergency, a measure decreed by the government in conjunction with the declaration of internal armed conflict in the face of growing violence. Last week, President Daniel Noboa extended the emergency for an additional 30 days.

Under the declaration, the Ecuadorian armed forces will remain in the streets and prisons, together with the National Police, confronting 22 criminal groups classified as terrorists. Since early January, more than 11,700 people have been detained, 300 of them considered terrorists.

The National Police command reported last week that overall crime in Ecuador has been reduced 24% in 2024.

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