Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Crime in Paradise II

No there hasn't been another rape but I wanted to write a follow up to my story on Monday.

First of all my friend is doing okay. Much better than I would be doing. The afternoon after the rape she went around on her street to warn other women to take all precautions and she is doing all that she can to help the ministerial police as well as the community. She is a quiet woman of courage and common sense.

On Sunday there were four ministerial police at "Sue's" house to investigate the crime. We later found out that the ministerial police have four investigators so they were throwing all their resources at the problem. They were there for a long time and brought in some other people that they wanted to interview. They are developing evidence.

Prior to this rape, a meeting had already been scheduled in our Colonia to talk about the other two rapes and what we could do to protect a neighborhood watch program. Once the word got out that Sue had been raped on Sunday, many people from all over the city decided to come to the meeting. What had started out to be a neighborhood meeting with Miguel Kegel suddenly became a huge meeting with television and radio coverage, with the Mayor's representative, the Preventive Police Chief, two representatives from the State District Attorney's office and translators. I had thought that it would be pretty much a gringo meeting but there were many Mexicans too. And what surprised me is that they are as angry or maybe even angrier than we are that once a crime is reported nothing else is ever heard. Was the criminal apprehended? Is he/she in jail? Is the investigation progressing? Nothing!They are angry that crime is increasing not just against the gringos but Mexicans too. Originally the meeting was scheduled to take place in the Spanglish Cafe but there were so many people that it quickly moved into the street and the afternoon sun. Someone said that there were 150 people there and I would have guessed about 200 people. The facilitator was Bill who is the adult son of one of the women who was raped. Bill and his mother have lived in San Miguel for 30 years and he is fluent in Spanish and English. He opened the meeting by saying that the investigations of the rapes could not be discussed and he did his best to try to focus the meeting on what we should do to help the police and protect ourselves. But the crowd, Gringo and Mexican, weren't buying that. They wanted to get some answers. Still for the most part people were polite and diplomatic. Well, except for some of the Mexicans. One had a large sign that she displayed that said something to the effect, "Enough already, Police Chief, do your job."

What I found interesting is that neither of the representatives from the Ministerio Publico (District Attorney's Office) said anything. Nada. I would have thought that they would have at least made a statement that they were going to do all they could do to apprehend the rapist.

The crowd stood in the sun for about two hours. It was obvious that nothing was going to be decided at this meeting but it did make a statement that the public wants something done about crime.

After the meeting, Ned went to the two men from the Ministerio Publico and told them that they needed to have the people in their office better informed about what should be done when a woman who has been raped comes in. And he related the confusion about seeing a doctor for testing to confirm a rape. They told him that the woman was in shock and that she needed to go to the hospital. Ned told them that wasn't the case. He was there with her and she just wanted to know how to get the proper testing done so that the rape could be confirmed and prosecuted. The people who were in the office did not seem to know anything about seeing a doctor. It is obvious that there are no procedures in place in the Ministerial police office for certain crimes. Maybe for any type crimes.

One thing that really bugged me yesterday was the representative from the Mayor's office said several times things like, "You must remember that Mexico is a Third World country. We do not have all the things in place that you do in the States." Excuse me, I don't think Mexico is a third world country. Maybe a second world country but why would he say that about his beautiful country. I was embarrassed for him that he would describe his country that way and I felt that he was using it as an excuse for nothing being done about crime.

It will be interesting to see what happens. Rapist are hard to catch. Sometimes in the United States it can take months and months before one is apprehended. But here where the laws are so strange that even though they have a sketch of the rapist, they can not show it to anyone....I doubt if even the preventive police have seen it; where, we have heard, there is no extradition from one State to another so the criminal can cross the State line and avoid being arrested. Here with all the inefficiencies, lack of communication and coordination between City and State law enforcement, with laws that make the investigation so difficult, I don't know if the rapist will be apprehended.

And if he is apprehended, I wonder what the penalty is for rape.


Brenda said...

Your friend sounds like a very couregeous(spelling?)person. I wish her well.

Anonymous said...

Billie, Just dropped in on your blog to see how things are going with you and regretted what your friend has been through. We hope she has recovered and that her attacker is prevented from similar acts in the future.

Despite the "Crime in Paradise," your lives look lovely.

Marie and Hans