AN ALARMING NUMBER of minors have been arrested in Colombia for theft, possession of weapons and micro-trafficking this year – with projections suggesting there will be an increase on last year.
Almost half of of the reported cases took place in Bogota, according to government figures.
Authorities reported that 6,159 minors in Colombia have been arrested for various illegal activities between January and September, almost 500 more than in the same period last year.
Some 6,241 minors were arrested in Colombia last year, the report said.
The most common crime was theft, with 3,015 arrests of this nature reported. There were 2,529 cases of possession and trafficking of narcotics; 141 cases of illegal possession of weapons; 437 cases of personal injury; 23 cases of homicide; and 14 rape cases.
Penalties for minors who violate Act 1098 (Code of Childhood and Adolescence) are considered lenient, reports say.
The maximum penalty for a minor found guilty of murder is eight years in prison; effective once the minor reaches mature age. In the meantime they are detained in a reformatory, or juvenile detention.
By Madeleine Elder