The reappearance of the market for false license plates in Bogotá set off the alarms of the authorities and revealed a whole network of crime that not only includes counterfeiting these items, but also vehicle theft and the illegal sale of auto parts.
According to the Traffic and Transportation Directorate of the Bogotá Police (Ditra), during 2021 there were 275 appearances and immobilizations of cars for reason B04, which corresponds to driving vehicles with adulterated plates, retouched or altered. While for the subpoenas for the reason B06 or driving cars with false plates, five cases were reported. So far in 2022, these figures rise to 35 and 3, respectively. These cars are confiscated and made available to the authorities.
However, they have said that “although this modality is not new and that it could have reappeared since the pico y placa extended (from 6 am to 9 pm) criminals not only change plates to avoid city regulations, but also when they steal a car and want to sell it. In that case they have to replace things like the chassis, the motor, the computer, and finally the motherboard, to get everything to match. That is when the parts market or the so-called scrapyards also come into play.”
According to figures from the District Security Secretariat, in Bogotá approximately four cars every hour. In January 2022, 277 vehicles were stolen, that is 88 more than in the same month of 2021, for an increase of 47 percent, the highest increase for that month in 12 years.
Due to the extension After peak and plate hours, criminals have chosen to offer false plates, even registered in the SIM (Comprehensive Services for Mobility) and even at home to people who think of illegally skipping the ban.
The councilman of the Democratic Center Óscar Ramírez assures that they charge up to 250,000 pesos for a false license plate and that these can be obtained in the La Playa sector, in the center of the city.
(To continue reading: Intolerance: ‘With a fist a man hurt my jaw for 500 pesos’)
Camila and Eduardo, a young couple who work in a well-known home delivery company, told EL TIEMPO how the delivery of license plates works. “Yes, we have had to carry a couple of these things, but it is not something that we can decide. Through the application they ask us to run an errand and we rarely know if what is being transported is or is not what it says in the app, but we have had to deliver plates”, say the two young people.
However, license plate falsification is just the tip of a phenomenon that encompasses the vehicle theft market and the sale of used auto parts in the capital. Between January and December 2021, the illegal spare parts market grew by 16.32 percent, according to the Association of the Automotive Sector and its Parts (Asopartes).
Despite this, the authorities have reported major blows in this matter. For example, on February 6, investigators from the National Police and the Dian reported a heavy blow against the criminal structures that sell stolen parts. Stolen parts worth 2,400 million pesos were seized.
According to the Police, this is a phenomenon that is very strong in the 7 de Agosto neighborhood, the sanandresitos of 38 and San José, La Estanzuela, Kennedy Central, the Primera de Mayo and the Álamos sector.
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18 stolen vehicles recovered
The Bogota Traffic Police managed to recover 18 vehicles that had been stolen in the city so far this year
General Juan Libreros, director of Traffic and Transportation of the Police, reported that the modalities in which the vehicles were stolen are pulled, robbed and one of them through the use of scopolamine.
Leo Hans Díaz, one of the victims of the gangs dedicated to the theft of vehicles, said that before three criminals stripped him of his car , he was kidnapped and n the Modelia neighborhood and taken to a warehouse in Álamos Norte, where they finally took the car.
“We are implementing two strategies: the first is investigative, it is a job that is being done by the investigation section and the intelligence branch, both from the Metropolitan Police of Bogotá and the Directorate of Traffic and Transportation, where we are identifying, prosecuting and capturing the criminal structures that are dedicated to this crime,” said the general.