The National Bureau of Violent Crimes, Missing Persons, Extortion and Kidnapping (DINASED) says that if current trends continue, Cuenca will be the safest large city in Ecuador and one of the safest in Latin America.
Paul Aguilar, Azuay Province DINASED chief, says that of the five murders reported in the first three months of 2015, only two involved an assailant and victim that did not know each other. “Robbery was the intent in those cases. In the other three cases, the alleged murder and victim knew each other and the murder was the result of personal conflict,” he said.
Of the five murders, two occurred in the Cuenca canton, two in Camilo Ponce Enrique canton, and one in the Gualeceo canton. In the same period of 2014, the province recorded nine murders, with the six of those occurring in Cuenca. According to Aguilar, the murder rate is the lowest since his office began compiling crime statistics.
Aguilar said that besides murder, other categories of violent crime also dropped in the first three months of 2015, compared to 2014. He also said that property crime continues to trend down with the exception of motorcycle theft, which increased for the fifth consecutive quarter.
According to Aguilar, arrests have been made in both murders involving theft and the suspects are in jail awaiting trial. He added that arrest and conviction rates continue to rise, the result, he said of more law enforcement personnel, improved forensics, the new 911 emergency call system, and surveillance cameras in high crime areas.
The “safe city” designation is assigned by the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime.