How Effective Are Your Neighborhood Police?

In the case of Terronal, apparently not all that effective. Lilliam noticed that a car parked on the street and two men entered the lot of our neighbor. They were stealing old iron and sheet metal. She called our neighbor and then reported it to the police.

When the police came, they merely said, “get along little doggie”, and did nothing more.

When we questioned the police why he did nothing, he said he didn’t think there was anything of value. Sure, these two men decided to do their civic duty and were just cleaning up the neighborhood. Not to mention, testing the police and scouting for other houses to potentially rob.

I am sorry, but that is not for the police to determine if it is of value or not. It is the owner of the property. It is the police’s responsibility to enforce the law.

You will notice that the car has no license plate. Guess that isn’t worth a ticket either.

10 thoughts on “How Effective Are Your Neighborhood Police?

  1. Business as usual in Panama.

    My SIL lives in Arraiján (near Panama City) and the trucks make regular sweeps through the neighborhoods collecting ANYTHING that the owner isn’t standing on. Her neighbor had an automatic transmission sitting next to the porch to be installed in his car when the “salvage” crew loaded it.

    Even the scrap must be under lock and key, especially when folks are adding to their Christmas fund.
    jim and nena
    fort worth, tx

  2. This is exactly why we put security bars on the house but made a mistake and left a wheelbarrow out one night – GONE. No more theft, all inside and secure. Thieves are Christmas shopping in everyone’s property, other than their own. This is not only in Panama. Born & raised in a Coal Mining region and immigrant problem, bar/shootings and continuous newsletters reflecting domestic violence, deaths and on and on. We have lost the morale of living. Schools are being dominated by the students, not by the teachers in our birth location. I would like to get back to the early 80’s when we could afford to live and feel safe.

  3. I got back and looked at all the pictures again. If you are an American — would this be scrap and cleanup or jail time? HUH?

  4. What I see in this pictures is just nothing else than another example of the harsh realities of Panama. I do not know if someone have noticed, but this individual is missing half of his right arm. In panamanian society, he very much is considered useless and employment opportunities for him are extremely limited. In a nation where public assistance for disable people is also limited, perhaps this man is been force to do what he does in order to support his family. He may be a very proud chiricano who would rather risk to be arrested and thrown in an overcrowded jail than beg and go hungry. I bet the policeman knows that very well and that is probably why he decided to look the other way. He probably also knows that having this man prosecuted for petty theft and trespassing will only add another case to the already overwhelmed and innefective panamanian judicial system, at the same time that will take away from this man’s family the only source of support they probably have.

    Let me make clear that by all means his actions are not acceptable under panamanian law. The concept of what is considered private property is clearly defined by the law and it provides for punishment. But this society’s non-written rules also establish that it is the individual’s ultimate responsibility to secure his property, even if it is nothing else than a pile of worthless rusted sheetmetal. In this case, if the property owner wanted to have this man arrested for theft, he should have insisted on pressing charges right away rather than letting the police decide whether or not a crime had been commited. As strange as this seems to be, this is the way the cookie crumbles in this country and sometimes you just have dance to its tune. Of course, there could be a whole lot of other reasons why this man decided to steal this scrap metal, but I guess we will never know since nobody asked him.

  5. Hi Don,
    It is really sad how people in Panama don’t respect private property.My dad’s house in Los Algarrobos was completely dismantel little by little in a matter of two year that only the walls are left standing.What was once the pride and joy of my dad’s work is now a sad chapter in our life,s.

    Venice Laporte Boatwright

  6. Hi David, You mention several valid things in your comment. Yes I did notice the missing arm, There was a second individual that was in the lot and I didn’t get his photo and he was not handicapped.

    This house has been completely robbed of all that is of value over the last couple years. All house wiring etc. There is no way to protect a unoccupied house, anywhere in Panbama, without putting a 24 hour guard on duty.

    That is why, no matter the financial needs of the thief, the police have a duty to act when called to an incident such as this. Lack of action invites more. You do nothing positive to correct one society problem by being lax on crime.

    I have seen many Panamanians with handicaps working, but others that were not capable or did not want to work. There is no organization that assists these individuals with prosthesis. Tom McCormack brought several leg prosthesis to Panama on his last trip.

    Senor Robinson at his auto service center, makes may items to help those in need.

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