In 2016, Martín Ocampo became the new minister of justice and security for the city government of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The city, which had seen a spike in crime over the preceding years, was in need of fresh ideas.
The country was long considered to be the safest in Latin America, but that reputation began to erode in the early 2000s, especially as robbery rates jumped to the highest in the region, peaking in 2002, according to the International Security Sector Advisory Team, a division of the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces.
Although his tenure was relatively short, his impact on tackling crime with new ideas is indisputable.
A crime map is statistical information that is constructed through the reports that are done of all the crimes that occur in the city of Buenos Aires. Those reports are geopositioned. Prior to 2016, crime mapping data was lost, providing a key lack of insight for security forces. Following a direct request from the president, Mauricio Macri, Martín worked to start the arduous task of rebuilding this critical data point.
Identifying the root causes
As Martín said it himself, “the biggest problem with crime is that there is always an economic matrix. That is to say, except for those crimes that are of a passionate nature, the rest have a financial motive. It’s people who want to make money through the illicit”. During his tenure, we worked to cut out this root cause by tacking the prolific drug trade, through a combination of targeted, hands-on policing and cutting out some of the places where it could fester, such as the manteros (street vendors).
Reading an interview Martín took part in near the start of his tenure, I was touched by one of the last things he said. His words resonated with me and they have since formed the basis for my new plan to investigate solutions first-hand.
It seems to me that the central thing in the world is that we view each other as humanity. If we see ourselves as human beings, we will be more ready to share experiences and to share solutions. We, around there, have some experience in an issue that could help others, and others can have experiences that can help us.
We have to promote this exchange of opinions and ideas and experiences because [that] allows all of us to be more efficient. In reality, the secret is not only to build a better city, or to build a better country, but rather to build a better world.
Q&A: New Buenos Aires Leadership Seeks Changes to Decrease Crime, Curb Police Corruption. (2016). From https://globalpressjournal.com/americas/argentina/qa-new-buenos-aires-leadership-seeks-changes-decrease-crime-curb-police-corruption/