Mayor of Palmira (Colombia), Representative from the international network Peace in Our Cities
Óscar Escobar is the Mayor of Palmira, a city of 354,285 situated in the Valle del Cauca in Colombia. After a successful campaign under the slogan There is another way, he became the youngest ever mayor of his hometown. His priorities are to modernise the city, improving the infrastructure and preventing violence. Óscar Escobar studied economy at the University Icesi and holds a Master’s degree in public policy from the University of the Andes. Prior to becoming Mayor of Palmira, he worked at the National Planning Department, and as economic advisor to Senator Claudia López. In 2016, he returned to his home region to work with the Mayor of Cali, Maurice Armitage, as director of Municipal Planning and Information and Communication Technologies. He is co-author of a book, Goodbye to the FARC! And now that?
Do you have any specific hopes or predictions for the future of urban security? (What will urban security look like in 30 years? What will be the main opportunities and risks?)
My hope is that we achieve the de-escalation of the armed conflict in Colombia and consolidate peace in the territories. I hope we can improve resilience and citizen security, and that local communities can fully know their rights and duties in order to exercise greater social control and achieve better daily life. This must be effectively accompanied by the security forces.
Why do you think it is so important to involve citizens in urban security practice?
Because communities must be able to ‘self-manage’ themselves in terms of crime prevention and at the same time control and prevent criminal phenomena through social control and increased cooperation networks with security forces to mitigate crime threats.