Potrerillos Neighborhood Watch Report: 9/30/2011

I received the following for posting. All have been entered into Chiriquí Watch. I encourage all residents of Chiriquí to use the Chiriquí Watch site to record problems of this nature.

Potrerillos is starting to see criminal activities pick up including a dangerous armed robbery in a nearby town.

Another nasty traffic accident to report:
On Wednesday 9/28/11 at about 5-PM a serious traffic accident occurred between 2 vehicles owned and operated by residence of Potrerillos occurring directly in front of the now empty Potrerillos Police Substation. This time it involved two white SUV’s and both sustained major damage. According to the Police investigation one SUV was speeding South bound down the road at a extremely high rate of speed (something very common around here) when the driver a 18 year old female from Potrerillos Arriba attempted to pass another vehicle positioned in front of her when she lost control and collided with that second SUV in what was described as a side impact.

The 18 year old driver sustained major internal and external injuries and lost a lot of blood, so much that Officers for Dolega PD had to quickly donate many units blood to save her for bleeding out and dyeing in hospital. The young drivers condition is grave and information received indicates that it is uncertain whether she will survive the seriousness of her injuries. The status of the other vehicle operator was not provided but was assumed to be ok.

Despite the serious nature of these automobile accidents and the frequent Roving Police Check Points residents of Potrerillos remain defiant and continue to operate their vehicles with little regard for the safety of themselves and those around them. There have been 4 lives lost so far this year in Potrerillos resulting from vehicular accidents.

New Case:
On Sunday 9/25/11 a passenger riding on a public bus that services the Via Boquete rout was robbed at gun point when 3 local punks believed to be from the Algorrobos area placed a hand gun up against an unsuspecting passenger on the bus and robbed him of his blackberry cell phone and several other unspecified items of personal property. The armed robbery which went undetected occurred while the bus was in motion and the 3 perpetrators described as Panamanian males quickly exited the bus near the Algorrobos Township and disappeared from sight after committing there crime. No suspect information was provided other that the individuals appeared to be teenagers.

Next New case:
On Wednesday 9/21/11 an American Homeowner from Potrerillos Arriba who wishes not to be identified discovered that his residence was targeted by thieves when a window located on the backside of the residence was busted out in an attempted burglary (attached). Information received along with an investigation reviled that the perpetrator(s) disabled several outdoor motion lights removing the light bulbs in an attempt to create concealment in the hours of darkness. The thieves also erected a crude platform from rocks gathered from around the property in an attempt to reach the bathroom window (which they broke out). Fortunately the home was equipped with robust security bars that remained intact and appeared to have stopped the thieves from successfully entering the residence. Police Officials from Dolega were notified for follow up investigation. Anyone who may have information or knowledge of those responsible are encouraged to contact the Dolega PD. You may also communicate your observation to the Potrerillos Neighborhood Watch Group.

Third New Case:
On Monday 9/26/11 again in Algorrobos Township a long term local resident described as a retired Panamanian homeowner was the victim of burglary when it was discovered that someone had ripped off his full size washing machine that he had just recently purchased for his family. The victim surmised that the perpetrators must have used a vehicle to commit the theft as the wash machine which was located on the back porch was too heavy to be moved very far by hand. Additionally it was indicated that whoever committed the theft was in a hurry and ripped the water line away from the wall leaving the water to gush all over the ground. The incident was reported to the Dolega Police Department.

Update on the Santa Rosa double homicide:
An individual described as a Panamanian male approximately 48 to 50 years old has been arrested and is being held in connection with the savage murders of the two women in their Santa Rosa home. The suspect was identified as the husband or ex-husband of the 38 year old victim who was brutally stabbed multiple times and had her throat cut.
Domestic Violence is uncommon in Panama and violent crimes in general are also rare however things are quickly shifting and unfortunately quiet places like Chiriquí Provence including the District of Dolega are starting to see more and more serious crimes typically found in bigger cities. Things are predicted to get worse before they get better (if ever).

Recognizing this sad fact only reinforces the need to organize the community(s) into a highly effective citizen based Neighborhood Watch Group. This is a popular concept that is well documented and widely proven to be effective in combating crime and has the added benefit of creating a more stable and secure environment for the citizens of the communities in which they serve.

In Potrerillos there is a loosely organized Neighborhood Watch Program that struggles to provide this vital service that is expected to increase in relevance as the criminal threat escalates. The few folks who work tirelessly to make the community safer for all is operating on limited time and resources to devote to the mission of the program. The effectiveness of this program is dependent on community cooperation and vestment. Your assistance is needed to make our community a better and SAFER place to live.

Feel free to contact your NHW Facilitators with comments including you’re pledge of support.
Potrerillos Neighborhood Watch Facilitator

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