First thing in the morning we went to the Observatorio and spoke to Marlon Sandvinski (Director of the observatory), Cesar Campana (head of municipal security), and Rafael Rios (the technical secretary of COPROSEC). They showed us their information center where they (1) compile the crime statistics, and (2) determine which areas of the city should get new police focus every month. They highlighted where they have weaknesses (lack of budget, challenged working relationships with the national police, insufficient technology / tools to do their jobs), as well as what they’re doing to improve the situation (training neighborhoods how to react to crime, organizing neighborhood watches).
We then left to meet with Esther Albujar Moreno at the Public Defender office. His role is to take complaints about other institutional failures (e.g. if the public ministry didn’t sufficiently address a citizen’s complaint), and he gave us an overview of the different issues his department faces and the level frustration that exists in the general population about the crime in the city. The issues he raised are fairly complex as they’re a mixture of political differences among those in power, institutional limitations within functional departments, and historical cultural approaches that all come together to make it very challenging to change the momentum.
Finally, we went to visit with the local chamber of commerce. They explained in relatively direct detail what level of violence they or their friends and families have personally experienced. They acknowledged that the problems are pervasive and have many systemic drivers, but they also took the time to express gratitude for our being here and for IBM being willing to contribute resources to tackling this very important problem. For us it was particularly helpful as they were the only community we’ve met with so far who isn’t within the government. They gave us a different perspective on what the population is experiencing, and what the most pressing problems are.
At this point in the project we’ve now begun organizing the major issues that have been raised with us, in order to begin structuring our thoughts for the rest of the interviews, as well as to begin to narrow the scope a bit. Tomorrow we’ll meet with 3 more stakeholders, and we also plan to begin outlining the presentation and key topics we’ll address in our final presentation to the mayor.