BOGOTA, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- A "chop-up house" where criminal gangs are thought to have committed horrific crimes, including dismembering the bodies of murdered victims, is where Bogota's government decided to begin the destruction of Bronx Street on Wednesday.
Bronx Street, in the center of the Colombian capital, has long struck fear into the hearts of residents but the local government has now decided to bulldoze many of the buildings and rebuild this dark corner of the city.
On Wednesday, heavy machinery began the bulldozing of the chop-up house, protected by police officers and accompanied by the firefighters.
Bogota's mayor Enrique Penalosa spoke to the press as the demolition began, assuring them that his administration would continue to improve security in Bogota, in order to restore public spaces and reduce the danger for vulnerable inhabitants.
"The important thing is the human factor. There are thousands of residents who are in shelters, young people are entering drug rehab programs. We must now focus on a rehabilitation process for those who live on this street," said Penalosa.
The reconstruction and restoration of Bronx Street will last around a year and cost around 11.6 million U.S. dollars, he said. Once completed, the street will also house the new seat of the local government of Los Martires, a district of Bogota.
Penalosa said that his proposal involved taking a zone where crime was rampant and transforming it into a safe area for all citizens.
"We need for businesses in the area to collaborate in order to make this a safe, more dynamic areas, with more businesses and activities to benefit the community," said the mayor.
The intervention on Bronx Street began in May with 2,500 public security officers carrying out a raid, which led to 13 arrests of gang members and the seizing of 30 firearms and around 100,000 doses of drugs. Enditem