Nueva Prosperina: From Crime Prevention to the Fight Against Organized Crime

Nueva Prosperina: From Crime Prevention to the Fight Against Organized Crime


This article has been translated from Spanish into English. You can read the original article here.

Photo and article source:

Primicias (2024, May 28). Nueva Prosperina, de la prevención del delito al combate contra el crimen organizado Para hacer uso de este contenido cite la fuente y haga un enlace a la nota original en Primicias.Ec: Https://www.Primicias.Ec/noticias/seguridad/nueva-prosperina-prevencion-combate-crimen-organizado-guayaquil/. Retrieved May 29, 2024, from


Nearly 300 police officers assigned to Nueva Prosperina, in the northwest of Guayaquil, one of Ecuador’s most violent districts, are being trained in the use of weapons and emotional management.

Nueva Prosperina: Among the Five Most Violent Places in the World

Here, at least 40,000 adolescents aged 12 to 18 were being trained to commit crimes such as homicide, extortion, and kidnapping. Los Fatales had a shooting range and classrooms to simulate hostage treatment. They are now recruiting elderly individuals to store, hide, and guard drug shipments, taking advantage of the precautionary measures accessible to them.

Nueva Prosperina, a sector included in the list of the most violent places in the world, has approximately 450,000 residents who lack basic services, 39 housing cooperatives, and 9,325 unpaved hectares. This makes it a susceptible area for illegal operations by criminal gangs. Here, the police have seized all types of weapons, especially 5.56 and even 7.62 rifles, whose ammunition is prohibited even for warfare.



Six People Massacred in Northwest Guayaquil

Given this scenario, the police strategy shifted from preventive to combative, stated Lieutenant Colonel Roberto Santamaría, head of the Nueva Prosperina District, who added that “to fight terrorist groups, we must be trained in weapon handling.” Now, operations are not conducted with just two police officers in a patrol car but with four who are escorted by motorcyclists armed with long guns. “It’s a new management model that has helped us reduce and contain crime,” says Santamaría.

Amsitec is in charge of training 300 agents, including emotional control techniques. This company provides its specialized services to the police through international instructors and security experts Peter Andrade Santos and Franklin Esparza. It has trained police forces in Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.

“We need to understand what the progressive use of force entails. It’s a bit complicated because the impact of human rights on police actions lies in the principle of proportionality,” added Officer Santamaría. Additionally, agents receive emotional release workshops as they are exposed to highly stressful situations. “This is a district where the second-highest number of 911 calls is for domestic violence. It’s a violent society,” explains the officer.


About 50,000 Families Extorted and 5,000 Displaced in Northwest Guayaquil

Moreover, the most severe issue in Nueva Prosperina is not just drug trafficking but human trafficking, as gangs recruit minors to be operatives in organized crime. So far this year, the police have managed to free 47 people kidnapped by criminal gangs in this district.


The Training

“Jump, tigers,” orders instructor Peter Andrade to a first group of 25 agents (50 per day) who must position themselves in front of the virtual shooting range, located at the Telconet field in the Los Ceibos sector, northwest of Guayaquil. The goal is to improve marksmanship and “steady the nerves” in a hostage rescue situation. To achieve this, the company uses the MILO Range system, a simulator of procedures and crisis situations, which includes the functions of a Virtual Shooting Range.

Each agent receives a replica of the Glock-17, the standard-issue weapon used by the National Police in Ecuador. And that’s where the virtual shootout begins, in a simulator that has been developed for over 30 years. But the system allows them to fine-tune their marksmanship while Andrade teaches tactics not only for shooting but also for holstering, drawing, and holding weapons during police operations. “We all feel fear during an operation, but it is balanced when we acquire knowledge,” says Andrade to the audience, holding his virtual pistol.

He then positions four officers, two on each side, with one facing the screen and another covering their backs, while a scene of an out-of-control kidnapper threatening to kill his victim plays out. During practice, situations arise, such as the sudden intervention of another officer who gets up from his chair and neutralizes one of the trainees, focused on the kidnapping. Maintaining a 360-degree view is crucial to avoid disasters, says Andrade, as he applies a hold to his student and keeps him on the ground.


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Risky situations like this have caused 156 of the 600 police officers in the district to require psychological and psychiatric care, showing symptoms such as anxiety and narcissism. “There are police officers who don’t sleep, who have been captured and tortured by criminal organizations. Here they killed Verónica Songor at the UPC, and her colleagues survived, but they experienced that tragedy,” recalls Santamaría. Police personnel training can be the difference between life and death in the war against organized crime.