Aging seems to increase the fear factor.  I used to hear an neighbour in her 90’s, across the street, rattle her doorknob, each night, for up to thirty minutes to make sure she was safe.  I assumed it was fear.>

Then whilst reading  back  issues of Atencion I found a quote, in an article on  How to … report a crime By Krishna Villena
Trujillo emphasizes the importance of reporting crimes or suspicious activity.
I imagine the phone number at the police station rang for several days over the interpretation of what could be terms suspicious activity.

Basic steps in reporting and investigating a crime

1. Call emergency number 066 or the police department at 152-2890

When a crime has been perpetrated, call one of the emergency numbers. After the police arrive and take your statement, you will be asked to go to the district attorney’s office (Ministerio Público). This step is necessary to launch an investigation by a prosecutor and the police.

What is really going to happen

When you think a crime is about to happen call the emergency number.  The police will arrive.  Because you don’t speak any Spanish they are going to take you down to the police station.  The criminal code in Mexico is not like home.  The person reporting the crime is assumed to be guilty of the crime until proven innocent.

2. Go to the district attorney’s office; take a photo ID

To speed up the process, bring a valid photo ID (FM3, passport, driver’s license, etc.). Although there are bilingual staff at the district attorney’s office, you may wish to bring a translator if you do not speak Spanish.

What is really going to happen

Take every piece of ID you own with you (birthday cards, school photos, any ID you might have left over from when you worked, tickets to plays, boarding cards).  It is always good to keep these pieces of ID in a box near the front door because the police don’t like to wait.  Once you get to the District Attorney’s office, someone will speak to only you in Spanish.  So before you call the police, call someone from the Translation Gang to be in the house when the police arrive so that they can interpret what is being said to you.

3. Go to the information unit for prosecutor assignment

Investigations are routed to one of four prosecutors, depending on the nature of the crime. Your first stop at the district attorney’s office is the “information unit” (modulo de información) where your case will be assigned to the appropriate prosecutor and his staff, including a ministerial police officer (judicial).

What is really going to happen

Your first interrogation will just be someone yelling at you. Don’t worry there are no electric prods. You might be waterboarded. That simply means they will take your bottle of Evian water and dump it on the floor. Just smile and say Me Gusta Mexico.

4. Give your statement to the prosecuting lawyer and two ministerial secretaries

Once your prosecutor has been assigned, you enter a private area to make a statement. Josué Ezequiel Hernández Tovar, in charge of the information unit, said that in the case of theft, the agents will ask you to provide them with receipts for your stolen belongings to prove their existence. Hernández Tovar said that if you don’t have any or all of them, two witnesses, such as friends, neighbors or other acquaintances, can confirm the belongings were in your house before the robbery.

What is really going to happen

In this part they do yell at you. They are going to accuse you of having too much stuff. You need to have a reason for everything that was stolen and why you bought it. The real problem is proving how much you paid for it. Because bargaining is the norm in Mexico, no one believes that a receipt is the right price. So you and the prosecutors will bargain back and forth until they believe they have the “Good Price” for the item you said was stolen. You might have to bring friends in to tell the police how much you paid for the stolen item.

5. The agency determines the type of crime and investigates the scene

6. A file is created for your case (averiguación previa)

After the lawyer and agents complete their investigation of the scene, a file called averiguación previa (previous enquiry) is created, that includes information such as the name of the lawyer conducting your case, the victim’s name and the number of the agency,

What is really going to happen

The averiguación previa is filed away under “Crazy Gringos” and no one ever looks at it again.

The article suggest taking these precautions.  (Added suggestions in italics)

  • Lock all doors and windows when you leave, even if only for a short time
    • (in fact it is best never to leave your house.)
  • Change all the locks when you move into a new house.
    • (And while you are add it change the locks on your neighbor doors too.)
  • Use timers to switch lights and radios on and off when you’re not at home.
    • (at Christmas,  buy those flashing light timers so the light go on and off every 10 seconds – very festive)
  • If you have a faulty alarm that frequently goes off, have it fixed immediately and tell your neighbors that it has been repaired.
    • ( don’t fix it, just tell them you fixed it.  It makes the street more interesting with alarms going off all the time)
  • Install a deadbolt (cerrojo) lock on your door.
    • (on every door including closet doors)
  • If you lose your keys, change the locks immediately.
    • (keep three sets of locks and keys and simply switch back and forth each time you lose the keys.  That way robbers will be two changes behind.)
  • Before turning your key over to a housecleaner, gardener or any maintenance workers for several hours, make sure the person is honest and reputable.
    • (Make the service person leave one of their children with you for several days after the work is done.  You can clean up the child clean and make them do chores until you are sure you won’t be robbed)
  • Don’t leave notes for service people or family members on the door.
    • (Ignore that rule, robbers can’t read English.  In fact they can’t even read)
  • Call the police and talk to your neighbors about any suspicious people or strange cars you notice in the vicinity.
    • (Make a daily call.  The police like to keep in touch)
  • Check that trees located near windows can’t be used by burglars to get into your house. (But under no circumstance, climb the tree yourself.

    • One older woman in Guadalupe is still stuck in her tree
  • Ask for credentials from any salespeople who request entry to your home. Ask them to slide their ID under the door. Many professional burglars use this ruse to check out homes.
    • (This needs no comment)
  • If someone comes to your door asking to use the phone to call a mechanic or the police, keep the door locked and make the call yourself.
    • (No, buy a gun and shoot them)
  • Dogs are good deterrents for burglars. Even a small, noisy dog can be effective.
    • (Again this is not good advice as someone is going to break into your house just to kill your dog)
  • If you are going to be out of town for a long time, ask a friend or neighbor to check your house weekly on different days and at different times.
    • (Bad advice, you should never never leave your house.  Have everything delivered.)