El Mundo reports on social peace and public safety, for beautiful Santa Cruz city, summary follows (for full Spanish article, click link below; after the link, there is my two cents on this unfortunate issue):
The group of voluntary institutions of Santa Cruz had its seventh meeting to define their activities in order to generate social peace and public safety. At the meeting, it was decided to have a final 7th gathering on December 9 around 9: 30, at the main square 24 de Septiembre Plaza.
There are more than 200 institutions that have been working for the last 30 years, developing educational programmes and building awareness to the people and the institutions responsible for ensuring public safety, as well as protecting the environment.
The lawyer Mabel López, Coordinator of the Group of volunteer explains that work was conducted under three pillars “We are working to address three aspects that we see important to deal with in the city;” “one of them is the environment, it is an obligation to take care of it, then we have the Foundation for public safety, which has to do with training policemen so that they understand their roles and finally our human values program, all the projects reach the entire population including the public safety”.
This volunteer work, coordinates with various professionals in different areas, among them are teachers, lawyers, missionaries and psychologists of broad curriculum, people with working experience, that allows them to know the problems to correct regarding the safety and citizen’s well-being.
For Lopez, insecurity for those citizens who live in Santa Cruz, responds first to the inapplicability of laws and the carelessness of the citizen who do not claim their rights. Which outlines how justice is done “the authorities, institutions and people must work together, if the authorities do not respond, and the citizens do not report, that becomes a revolving circle and crime grows”.
“In this case the volunteers are trying to teach the different action spaces to the population through conferences and training.” “We train the police and reinforce their roles as an institution with specific duties and responsibility when they take Office; the importance of duty and obligation, which can worsen if it is a position which puts at risk the physical and psychological integrity of the inhabitants of a city”.
They also help with lectures in schools, universities and neighborhoods by raising awareness, hoping that with a little effort, they can build a better quality of life.
One thing to remember, it is within us to change our habits, to be more cautious and to exert our rights and demand a better police work. That is what we can do on our own, with the help of these exceptional volunteers.
With regard to the broad picture and long-term sustainable solution: right now, the police force desperately intents to keep its structure and way of doing work; while new regulations vis-a-vis autonomy of the department, requires different structures. Central government does little to help this, as they intend to continue to keep control over the police forces; mainly to control riots or blockades. Neglecting public safety.
If the Governor’s office has the funding to provide to the police, the latter should sign a “receipt” that is an agreement and move on. Police structure and central government do not want to authorize the Governors nor Mayors to have direct control/hiring of police forces.
So, for the foreseeable future, we the citizens must take care of ourselves, change habits, not brag or show about what money you have, be alert and see if anyone is following you or your children. Do not go out too late, be aware when you are entering your house, etc.
What is growing, unfortunately is that people are lynching those who are allegedly suspected as thieves… anarchy can not take over. The Chapare, coca growing area has become a pathetic example of “social justice”, people get killed or beaten almost to death as there is no police presence.
Our citizens, specially those youngsters want to spend more than they have, and so they engage in illicit activities. Parents need to control more their sons to prevent this on time.
Again and lastly we are alone and we must protect ourselves, until we can force the government to allocate resources (financial and human) to fight crime and violence in our streets. The coca business and its derivates are a major source of our current problems.