There have been many ways that states have tried to tackle crime. From youth programs and hot-spot policing to bringing in stricter policies, a vast array of methods have been tried and tested, with various success rates. But exorcizing a city? Well, that's a new one.

A Catholic bishop has taken matters into his own hands following the soaring crime rates in one South-American city, with plans to drop holy water over the whole area in an attempt to perform a mass exorcism.

It seems like a mammoth task to pull off, but it looks like this Bishop has it covered, with the help of the army...

Buenaventura, situated on Colombia’s Pacific coast, is a city plagued with crime.

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It may be South America's largest Pacific seaport, but that's not why the area is so well known... The city is notorious for drug crime and gang warfare and has been home to a number of horrific crimes.

A growing number of so-called "torture gangs" reside in the city.

via: The Guardian

The violence and crime is so bad that Human Rights Watch named the area the country's most violent place in 2014.

The true scale of the issue has been revealed in one alarming statistic...

Just this year alone (and bear in mind, we're only in July) there have been a staggering fifty-one murders in the city, an increase of twenty from last year.

But it gets much worse than that.

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The crimes are truly harrowing, with The Guardian describing the city as a place "where body parts wash up following screams in the dark."

Gangs in the city are said to maintain "chop-up houses" where victims are "slaughtered."

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Human Rights Watch says that the area is "dominated by powerful criminal groups that commit widespread abuses, including abducting and dismembering people, sometimes while still alive, then dumping them in the sea."

The city has also been host to a devastating natural disaster.

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In both 2006 and 2016, mass floods swept the city, claiming the lives of thousands, and leaving many of its residents homeless and severely injured.

But one brutal murder sticks in the minds of many.

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After a 10-year-old was horrifically tortured and murdered by her uncle last year, Bishop Monsignor Rubén Darío Jaramillo Montoya has taken matters into his own hands, in the midst of what he describes as a "demonic infestation."

The bishop opted to perform a "mass exorcism" on the city.

via: YouTUbe

He planned to execute this via a huge helicopter during the city’s annual patron saints’ festivities at the weekend to rid the city of its demons.

Efforts have previosuly been made in the city to reduce violence.

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Marines often patrol the area to try to control the crime. However, despite some improvements being made, the violence doesn't appear to have wavered. Especially given those recent statistics.

But now, the Bishop is set to take this to new heights.

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He was reportedly set to receive a helicopter from the Army to spray Holy Water over the whole area to "restore the peace and tranquillity" in the city.

Montoya, who was ordained by Pope Francis in 2017, hopes that the exorcism will get rid of the "wickedness" on the streets.

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Speaking to local radio, he explained: “We want to go around the whole of Buenaventura, from the air, and pour holy water on to it to see if we exorcise and get out all those demons that are destroying our port, so that God’s blessing comes and gets rid of all the wickedness that is in our streets. "We have to drive the devil out of Buenaventura, to see if we can restore the peace and tranquility that our city has lost due to so many crimes, acts of corruption and with so much evil and drug trafficking that invades our port."

During the exorcism, the Bishop will begin with a prayer.

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This will be followed up with the mass-spraying of the holy water.

But aren't exorcisms designed to be carried out on individuals, not entire cities?

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Although exorcisms are traditionally only carried out on individuals, in 1890, Pope Leo XIII added a prayer named "Exorcism against Satan and the Fallen Angels," allowing for resolution of "demonic infestation," much like what Montoya believes is happening in Buenaventura.

Anyway, with the festivities having taken place last weekend, the burning question is... did he pull it off?

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Well, the answer is kind of both yes and no...

The exorcism wasn't quite as sky-high as we'd initially thought.

via: AP Photo/Fernando Vergara

There was no helicopter loaded with Holy Water in sight at the festivities.

Instead, Montoya used a fire truck to spread the Holy Water.

Montoya traveled on the truck to some of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in the city and sprinkled Holy Water as he passed through.

Despite the tragedy behind the act, the occasion was said to be festive at times.

via: Wion

The fire truck on which he rode was decorated with green and yellow balloons.

Montoya also made a speech during the event.

via: Fernando Vergara/Associated Press

Highlighting the brutal reality of crime in the city, Montoya said “Blood has run through the streets," and explained that the ceremony aims to show solidarity with afflicted communities and tell illegal groups that “you can’t destroy the life of a community, we’re united."

But he also warned that citizens "can’t wait for the state to act."

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Despite security forces and the courts working to reduce the city’s crime and violence rates, Montoya emphasized that its citizens must also support each other however they can.

Whether you believe in its authenticity or not, at least Montoya is acknowledging the huge issue at the heart of the city.

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But we anticipate that it's going to take more than Holy Water to tackle this brutal violence.