With 63 homicides, October 2017 was officially the month with the most murders in Medellín, Colombia’s second largest city, in more than three years, according to a report by the city’s Information Secretary. There were no months in 2015, 2016 or 2017 with more violent deaths. This year, Medellín has already had more murders (468) than all of last year (447).
The report indicated that most homicides were a result of organized gang violence, a growing trend in the city as organized crime organizations battle throughout the country for territory conceded by the FARC following their peace deal with the Colombian government. These battles for drug routes often manifest in proxy wars between gangs in the city.
Medellín’s most deadly district this year has once again been La Candelaria, or “El Centro” has it is known locally, where 80 of the 468 murders were committed. Other districts with a high number of homicides include Robledo, located in the hills west of the city, and the infamous Comuna 13 neighborhood of San Javier.
However no individual neighborhood has suffered more than Altavista, located in the far west of the city, where gang violence has been so widespread that the area has been off limits to the city’s police department. Medellín mayor Federico Gutiérrez has struggled to find answers for gang violence that has frustrated residents of the neighborhood.
Though increasing, Medellín’s murder rate still remains far below numbers from a decade ago, when an average of 9 people were killed every day.