“The Police detain a 17-year-old boy to whom nine violent robberies are attributed in commercial establishments in Las Delicias and La Almozara”, “Two minors arrested in Zaragoza for a violent robbery”, “Two minors arrested for stealing in a shop in María de Huerva wielding a large knife”, “Rosary of robberies with violence on the night of San Valero with the result of 9 detainees” (one of them committed by three minor girls)… These are some of the news recently appeared in the media, which have warned about crimes that have adolescents as protagonists and that have been repeated more frequently lately.
According to (provisional) data provided by the chief prosecutor from SaragossaPhilip Zazurca, in 2021 there were 191 robberies with violence or intimidation committed by minors in Zaragoza capital and province compared to the 103 cases registered in 2020. They represent a very important increase, of 85%, which must be placed in the context of the covid, where the statistics in all crimes dropped notably due to the months of confinement and mobility restrictions to curb contagion. In contrast, if compared to the 148 that took place in 2019 -a normal year, prior to the pandemic- represent a 29% risea lower figure but no less worrying for that.
These are the data (among others) that the Zaragoza Prosecutor’s Office to the Superior Prosecutor of Aragon of the TSJA and to the State Attorney General’s Officewhich will serve to prepare the report that the latter will present next September (in which the activity of the Public Prosecutor’s Office during the year prior to its publication is collected).
For him chief prosecutorgoing from 148 robberies with violence in 2019 to 191 last year is a “serious” increase and “important”, which has led to put more means. “The Police are working hard on this issue and we are also collaborating with them,” says Felipe Zazurca, who also points out that the security measures internment in closed centers in minors have risen “a little”.
As for the profile Of the minors who commit this type of crime, the chief prosecutor says that in general they are young people of between 15 and 18 years old and that uprooting and school failure They are usually behind. “There is a significant number of people who come from other countries; others from the second generation, who are as Spanish as we are; others who are from here… There is everything. And there is also the band pickup, that are sometimes organized around groups of minors,” he explains.
“We are detecting, above all, kids who have had a very important social downturn due to the pandemic”
“It’s not out of necessity”
School failure is also usually present in most cases related to petty theft or robbery that they see in the Ariadne Spacewhich has two centers in Zaragoza and another in Teruel and which offers a outpatient care for families (parents and children) from all over Aragon. “This year we are detecting above all kids who have had a very important social drop due to the pandemic. The year of confinement at home, too much family pressure… The way they have sought is to find themselves in the group and, since they cannot do normal activities, they have decided to play this role of gang pressure. They are kids who mostly they have committed the robbery in group. It is not a crime of necessity but a way to mark a territory“, informs his coordinator, Falo Garcia.
The Ariadne space of Zaragoza -which is part of the Foundation for the Comprehensive Care of Minors (FAIM)- served 263 families last year for some kind of situation conflict with their children (with ages between six and 25). And of the 217 kids between the ages of 12 and 18 with whom he worked 23 had committed some type of robbery or robbery (17 boys and six girls). Also, the 99% of the young people they serve are Spanish people.
Kids referred by social services or by the prosecution and also overwhelmed parents when it comes to correcting their children’s behavior. And there they find therapeutic and socio-educational care through the team of social educators, psychologists, teachers, program technicians, doctor and job inserter that Espacio Ariadna has.
García warns that lately they are getting “quite a lot” minors expelled from institutes for robberies. “Normally they are theft under duress. Some of us attend them here and other times what the educational centers do is to propose to the parents that they look for extra help; it is when they ask for our attention”, affirms the coordinator of Espacio Ariadna.
They have a “complicated” job ahead of them with young people and also laborious with fathers. As Garcia comments, they tend to overwhelm a lot and put a lot of pressure on their children. “These generate more interest by going out on the street again and doing small crimes to feel part of the group; to get a small amount of money simply by standing up to another group or another kid in the neighborhood,” he adds.
Action from the DGA
On the other hand, equipment that care in Aragon for minors who have committed a crime have intervened with more than 10,000 children in the last decadeaccording to data from the Autonomous Government as of March 2020. In most cases they were theft and injury.
Specifically, we work with them through two programs: the Educational Care Team for Minors (EMCA), up to the age of 14 and which has been in operation since 2003; and the Open Middle Team (EMA), launched in 1993 and dealing with minors who have committed crimes once they are 14 years old (some may be in the program beyond 18). Through the first, 2,638 kids have passed in that time and through the second, 7,886 kids from 2010 to March 2020. And most of the minors were of Spanish nationality.
As highlighted by the Aragonese Department of Citizenship and Social Rights, both programs are based on the prevention, comprehensive care for minors, their environment and the victim, as well as educational work to avoid recurrence. In addition, they point out that the Community leads in Spain the “extrajudicial mediations” to try to solve problems by preventing minors from going through the courts.