Date of Award

Spring 5-2010

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geography and Geology

Committee Chair

Joby Bass

Committee Chair Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 2

David Cochran

Committee Member 2 Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 3

Andy Reese

Committee Member 3 Department

Geography and Geology


Medellín, Colombia, once among the most dangerous cities in the world has seen a sharp decrease in homicides since 2002. This thesis explores the geography of violence in Medellín from 2001 through 2005 with specific emphasis on two factors thought to have contributed to the city's drop in violence: Operación Orión, a police and military response to the bloodshed, and the 2003 disarmament and demobilization of the Bloque Cacique Nutibara paramilitary organization. A series of Paired Sample T-Tests show that Operación Orión and the paramilitary demobilization seem to have contributed to falling human rights abuses and homicides, respectively. Additionally, a one-way ANOVA and cluster analysis detail the changing geography of homicide from 2003-2004. The results show that homicides are distributed across social strata, throughout the city with a concentration of high homicides near the city center. The findings speak to a growing body of literature on urban crime and related issues, including the importance of infrastructure and social inclusion in urban life.