14-year-old Brian Aguinaco is in extremely serious condition after being shot in the face by robbers on Saturday afternoon in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Flores. He was driving around with his grandfather at the time of the incident.
Pablo, a resident who witnessed the shooting, told TN news channel how the events unfolded: “The robbers tried to snatch a girl’s purse, but couldn’t. Then, a car turned the corner. The robbers thought it was following them and shot it. They did it twice, right in front of me.”
Unfortunately, this is far from the first time a crime like this has made it into the headlines in Argentina’s capital. In an article for La Nación, Marcelo Bergman, director of Tres de Febrero University’s Center of Latin American Crime and Violence Studies, said it’s very likely that rates of murder and theft will remain similar to last year’s figures: close to 7 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants with one out of every three adults having suffered a robbery. Insecurity is the topic that has historically worried Argentines the most, even as the economy dominates the public discourse in the media.
It was within this context that the City of Buenos Aires Mayor, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, decided to appoint José Pedro Potocar, the current director of City’s police stations as the chief of the newly-created City Police force.
The new agency will begin operating in 2017 and comes as a result of the fusion between the Federal Police that are active within the City — until the end of the year are under the control of the national government — and the metropolitan police, created in 2008 by President Mauricio Macri, when he was City mayor.
According to a press release issued by the Larreta administration, Potocar is a lawyer and has a masters in Forensic Criminal Science at the FBI National Academy. As of next year, he will be in charge of the 25,000 officers that will patrol the City’s streets with their new, unified uniforms.
He will have his work cut out for him. Flores’ residents took over the 13th police station after Brian Aguinaco was shot to express their frustration with what they perceive as being ineffective law enforcement policy.
“We’ve been dealing with these kinds of crimes day after day. It gets to a point when all of this generates an explosion… people are fed up. No police cars go through the neighborhood,” said one of the residents who entered the station.