Citizen Security, a problem that concerns us all

Bogotá has suffered in recent months from a wave of violence that looks more like a tsunami, and evokes us to those late 80’s and early 90’s where our parents, with tears in their eyes, asked us not to go out to the streets under penalty of being victims of a bomb, or of some hit man in “probationary period”. Today that we are adults, we are forced to walk the asphalt in the cold streets of the capital, to be able to bring a livelihood to our homes. We face the avid gaze of those who crave our belongings, knowing very well that life in South American Athens is not worth more than a cell phone or a bicycle.

Precisely this week Diego Alejandro Cardozo, a 25-year-old young man, lost his life before the helpless eyes of his brother, who watched with pain how the blood mixed with the asphalt of the tunnels of Calle 26 and Avenida Boyacá, while two people of “foreign nationality” quickly escaped with their bicycle.

Similarly, the deputy mayor of the National Police, Juan Pablo Vallejo, brother of House Representative Gabriel Jaime Vallejo, died from a gunshot wound to the head in an exchange of shots during a police procedure, which also resulted in wounded a prosecutor, another in uniform and one of the criminals. These two examples show us that we all put the dead in Colombia, regardless of social condition, marital status, profession, institutionality or sector of the city where we are.

But, what is the reason for this excessive increase in the rates of violence and citizen insecurity? Many attribute it to the migration of “unpleasant” people from our sister Venezuela, others to the loss of jobs and the economic recession generated by the pandemic that “forced” some to bring bread to their tables “at any price.” And even others, more daring, argue that it could be due to the excessive deterioration of the standard of living, caused by the shortages generated by the work stoppages in recent months.

Whatever the reason, or the sum of all, we must understand that there are four underlying factors that have always permeated the psyche of the Colombian citizen: the first is the ancestral transmission of the misnamed “indigenous malice”, which has taught us to subsist above the other, and not in a collaborative way, as is the case for example in Japan, which in a lapidary way has been generalized by the phrase “get money honestly, millet, and if you can’t, get money.”

The second is the indolence, indolence and “importunity” that characterizes us many times as a society, thinking that what happens to others does not have to happen to me, and it is not my problem. The third is the lack of efficiency and administrative myopia of some Local and District authorities to understand that there is no magic solution to the security problem and that on the contrary it must be faced from several fronts. And the fourth, and therefore no less important, is condescension in the face of corruption issues that generate social inequality and lack of opportunities, especially in remote regions and vulnerable populations in Colombia where I have heard phrases such as:

“It is that in my city you see the works because here they steal, but a little, not like in Bogotá where they steal even a hole.”

These types of negative, exclusive, permissive and often xenophobic thoughts are the ones that must be ended once and for all, if we want to advance as a society. Because, although it sounds trite and a drawer phrase, values ​​begin at home, and unfortunately, we have allowed those good values, principles and customs to be blurred in our society.

Therefore, we firmly believe in working with communities, listening to them, knowing the needs first-hand, and not through statistics printed on our desks from the comfort of our offices. We know that the only way to generate social equity is by helping to change the mentality of citizens, permeating the family nucleus, taking young people off the streets through sports and education, helping to make entrepreneurs visible and fighting corruption so that financial and employment opportunities reach those who need it most.

We strongly oppose restrictive and repressive policies, aiming more for constructive policies. It is useless to increase the force, and fill the neighborhoods with police and security cameras, when the number of criminals exceeds the number of uniformed. Colombia needs social change, and it needs it now. This is why a change in people’s mentality is important, to look out for the other, to denounce injustices, to create community fronts against crime with the support of the institutions. Therefore, it is time to act as a society and understand that within the framework of a Social State of Law, life must be guaranteed, but above all a dignified life.

We are also obliged to change our environment, starting with ourselves, second my family, third my neighbors, and if it is within my capabilities, my neighborhood. In this way, we will become positive leaders and an example for others.

Citizen security is everyone’s problem, so we must ask ourselves: What can you do for your city?

– # Let’s listen–

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