SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – The Dominican Republic’s homicide rate fell dramatically in 2013, reaching its lowest level in more than a decade after the government bolstered security and its fight against narco-trafficking.
Homicides dropped by 12.5% from 2012 to 2013 to 1,975 killings, according to the Attorney General’s Office. The murder rate of 20 per 100,000 residents is the lowest since 2002.
The country, besieged by an increase in drug trafficking as criminal organizations look to move more illicit drugs through the Caribbean as an alternative to the Central America-Mexico route, has focused on strengthening its police force and beefing up patrols.
The Dominican Republic is considered the foremost transshipment point in the Caribbean for shipments to the United States and Europe at a time when the amount of cocaine smuggled through the region has doubled.
Yet, the country has pushed back against the incursion of drug traffickers, whose violence has increased crime rates. Last year, the Dominican government seized a record of nearly 10 metric tons of cocaine, much of it coming in operations off the southern coast.
“We’re working more closely with our counterparts in anti-narcotics units, in the [traffic patrol] division and others,” National Police Col. Jacobo Moquete said.
One of the initiatives pushed by President Danilo Medina’s administration last year was to send military soldiers into the streets to patrol alongside the National Police. Initially controversial, the initiative gained the support of residents who saw a reduction in crime within months.
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