The Colombian government announced Monday it will be spearheading a regional initiative to end the trade of stolen cellphone between Colombia and neighboring countries.
According to the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications, a new strategy has seen a 15% reduction in phone theft within the country. Still, some form of regional cooperation is required to stem the high levels of trade in stolen goods between Colombia, Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador.
Technology and Communications Minister Diego Molano told Caracol radio, “An international strategy is in place that was designed to avoid sale of stolen goods in neighboring countries.”
“This international crime has increased in recent months and this trade seems to only be strengthening international crime networks,” he said.
Along with other crime fighting efforts already being put in place, Molano has called for legislation that would make it more difficult to activate Colombian phones in neighboring countries and vice-versa.
Such policies were introduced in the United Kingdom and the United States in August 2013, with the respective governments requesting that smartphone manufacturers include a lock to disable the re-sale of stolen devices.
“The epidemic of violent street crime involving the theft of mobile devices is a global problem requiring a global solution,” stated New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at the time.
A senior advisor for the presidential Security and Coexistence commission, Francisco José Lloreda, told the El Universal newspaper that domestic efforts up until this point have been focused on “discouraging the purchase of stolen cells, dismantling criminal structures and making people aware that buying stolen equipment is a crime,” an approach that has reportedly spared some 294,000 Colombians from becoming victims of cellphone theft.
The Communications Ministry did not specify any further of the details of its international initiative.