Monday, August 04, 2008

On Guard!

For the first time during my nine years in Guanajuato, I have been a crime victim. First, I was pickpocketed by a pair of light-fingerd young men at the bottom of the steps leading up to the supermarket, La Comercial. Later, police told me pickpocketing is most common during school vacations.

The second time was frightening. I was going toward my house with a friend along a main street I had walked many times in the hour before midnight. But this time, after going to an Indian movie that lasted until 12:30am and then dropping in at a party, we were on Paseo de la Presa about 2am when our assailants struck just before arriving atan escape route they could use as an easy getaway. When we were assalted by the two pistol-packing young men, my visitor gave up her expensive leather purse laden with electronics right away My thief had to have only a little more patience; soon I gave him mine with hardly more than an old folding umbrella inside. As I was bleeding from a scalp wound and scratches on my right hand, a neighbor called the police who came with an ambulance and a paramedic to dress my wounds.

That afternoon, my visitor and I went to La Judicial on Calle Alhondiga to make a denuncia that would get the crime on record as a case. Today, I followed up by going to an open city meeting where I had a chance to sit down with the policeman and paramedic who had been there. I made a sketch of the lighting problem and the way a parked car blocks a view of the callejon. I made sure to mentione that I had heard of a robbery in the privada a few months before. I also suggested contacting the two landladies owning property along the street. The police officer assured me he knows the sons of one of them

The young woman who sold me a replacement purse said she would send details to the two radio stations. I hope she did. I'll let you know if we receive better lighting in the privada--culdesac--but this one has a pedestrian stairway going uphill.

Don't think that because you're on vacation, criminals are too
Avoid being out after 11pm or whenever there are few people about
Avoid carrying more with you than you can afford to lose
Go to an ATM during daylight hours & don't count your money on the street
If you're attacked, Don't resist.
Afterward, talk about what happened with friends. You'll get sympathy and useful information.
Learn from the experience but don't blame yourself. It takes at least two for a crime to take place.

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