Colon tries to solve crime rate

Special reprt on Colon by Marijula Pujol Lloyd
Photos by: Francisco Mair

Some Colon community leaders fear that crime in this city is the consequence of levels of unemployment combined with the lack of opportunities for unskilled workers pushing young people to join gangs.

The Mayor of Colon, Dámaso García, said that the municipality is introducing programs in schools and creating youth centers to try to fight this phenomenon.

Years ago Colon was a popular tourist city, but it has now become infamous for being unsafe.

Colon tries to solve crime rate

The crime rate was so high in 2009 that solving the problem became one of the priorities of the Ricardo Martinelli government, but the high hopes for the Atlantic-side city have fallen victim to spending constraints caused by massive infrastructure spending in Panama City.

The Public Security Ministry spent over $11 million in Colon province implementing its “Inland Security” program, one of five programs that were scheduled for the province, but have been cut due to budget constrains.

The result is that the crime rate is beginning to creep up again. There have been 20 murders in the first 40 days of 2013.

The new sub-commissioner in charge of Colon province, Porfirio Justavino Cedeño, said “Our goal is to have a heavy police presence in the critical areas and arrive at the scene of incidents as quickly as possible.”

The reality is that certain areas in Colon city center remain dangerous.

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