Unit 6: City Solutions:
A Healthy Urban Future
Houses of Peace: Urban Violence and Safety
One of the unique challenges posed by urban development is urban violence. Without a sense of security no citizen will feel like he or she is part of a thriving, healthy community.
When Rodrigo Guerrero was elected mayor of Cali, Colombia, in 1992, the city was in the midst of a wave of violence in a country with one of the largest rates of murder in the world. He cited social disintegration as a chief reason for the large number of killings, which increased the general sense of insecurity and allowed for even more violence. He put in place "Public Safety Councils". These were not just some armed patrols, but councils that encouraged dialogue between local authorities and neighborhood leaders and dealt with the community's problems.
He also put in place the city's "houses of peace". These are centers that responded to complaints from citizens. In addition, he restricted the sale of alcohol and guns. Since then the homicide rate in Cali has dropped by 10 percent.
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