Colombia’s government has dramatically increased the values of the fines for public offenses for the first time in 39 years, covering issues from littering to vandalism to public urination.
According to the District Administration, the table of values specified in Police Code had not been updated in 39 years, and have always been laughed at for the preposterously low fines for public offences. However, now the Consumer Price Index is to be applied, and fines are increasing from as low as 50 pesos (approx. US 2c) to as much as 2.5 million pesos (approx. US$1,300).
Government Secretary, Clara Lopez, said that the district did not increase the amounts of fines, but only adjusted the amounts to the increased cost of living.
Initially, authorities and citizens will receive training regarding unacceptable behaviour and corresponding punishments.
“We’re not going to catch people by surprize, we’re going to implement training and awareness programs so that people know what to expect. Furthermore, we will have a school for multiple reoffenders,” Lopez said. Reoffenders would have to perform social work as well as paying a fine, reports newspaper El Tiempo.
The campaign will be raising awareness throughout October, but from November sanctions will begin to be implemented.
THE NEW FINE RATES
Between 30,826 and 61,652 pesos (approx. US$16-32, previously 50-100 pesos or US 2-4c)
Littering, failure to raise the flag, change or alteration of license plates
Between 61,652 and 308,264 pesos (approx. US$32-162, previously 100-500 pesos, or US 4-20c)
Prank calls to emergency hotlines, vandalism of trees and public ornaments, misuse of public official badges, failure to comply with the maximum weight warning in elevators
Between 308,264 and 616,529 pesos (approx. US$162-325, previously 500-1,000 pesos, or US 20-90c)
Discharging of firearms into the air, damage to public infrastructure (lights and lamps), defaulting employers (such as at concerts), changing of authorized parking fines
Between 616,529 and 1,233,059 pesos (US$325-650, previously 1,000-2,000 pesos, or US 90c-$1)
Setting fire to one’s own home
From 2,500,000 pesos (approx. US$1,300)
Urinating in public, sex in public, people who disturb the normal development of social activities (such as soccer fans).