Cali, the third largest city in Colombia, has traditionally been one of the country’s most violent cities because of its strategic location for drug trafficking, and fighting between cartels and local gangs.
Cali homicide rate
The complex and resilient criminal structures in the city have made it a major challenge for Cali authorities to significantly lower the city’s homicide rates.
Homicides per district
Most of Cali’s homicides take place in the so-called Aguablanca area, a number of impoverished and neglected districts in the east of the city.
Source: Cali Como Vamos
Cali’s criminal structures
Since the 1970s, Cali has been home to some of the country’s most feared drug trafficking organizations like the Cali Cartel, the Norte del Valle Cartel and, since the beginning of this century, “Los Rastrojos.”
The dominance of the cartels in and around the city traditionally moderated the influence of the now-defunct illegal armed groups AUC and FARC, and the country’s last-standing guerrilla group, the ELN. However, the Rastrojos have also fractured, leaving an unclear picture of who is running the city’s organized crime rackets and where.
Local gangs generally control extortion and drug dealing rackets in their neighborhoods, and commit robberies. Others have specialized in assassinations or are engaged in international drug trafficking with national and international organized crime groups.
Source: Ombudsman’s Office
Street Robberies in Cali
While the cartel and gang-related violence traditionally receives most attention in the media, street crime is one of the most common forms of delinquency that affects people the most. While armed robberies have gone up in all Colombia’s large cities in 2017, Cali’s increase in violent street crime has been highest.