It was in 2004 and in response to the Urban Survey of Citizen Security that the Regional Anti-Crime Plans (PRAD) were created. Coordinated by the Ministry of the Interior, the political mandate towards Mayors and Governors was clear: “take charge” of public security by generating specific offer with goals and measurements.
The plan was launched by then-President Ricardo Lagos in the town of Las Compañías de La Serena. That day, in front of the people, the Mayor promised to deliver results on concrete goals and within a limited period of time. So did the rest of the authorities across the country.
Then the points with high recurrence of crimes in the different regions of Chile were mapped. In the Metropolitan Region, the axis of the Alameda turned out to be among the warning foci. And among these red spotlights stood out Meiggs Street and its surroundings. Then a prevention strategy was made (with replacement and improvement of luminaires, installation of cameras, among other actions) and also of direct intervention with covert and face-to-face police work to reduce crimes and curb illegal trade. Clear, measurable goals with limited times were set. The results were reviewed and delivered publicly quarterly.
The keys were coordination, collaboration and evaluation of concrete results. In each region, the Intendant coordinated with the provincial governors, plus the prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the area, in addition to the police and Gendarmerie, through their regional superior commands. Even the Carabineros, which at that time depended on the Ministry of Defense, made itself available to the PRAD. A year later there was already talk of a drop in reports of targeted crimes of 11.7% in all regions, while the number of detainees had increased by 4.07% compared to the figures recorded during 2004.
With the arrival of other administrations, the Plan was changing its name, method and, at the same time, being left aside, basically because each government wants and believes that it can have “the solution” and invent its own wheel.
It is true that in 18 years the situation has become more complex and new factors have been added – then there were not so many immigrants or civilians shooting in the streets – but perhaps with coordination and will we could look back to find ways out into the future.
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