Potrerillos Neighborhood Watch Criminal Activity Report: 1/28/2012

Here is the latest report from Potrerillos.

Crime in Potrerillos remains steady. Another report was received of an unsuccessful attempted burglary of an American home owner’s residence. Additionally there was a theft of another cooking gas tank from a Panamanian residence, plus information about a suspicious death involving a Local National. Also a case involving an American home owner who had their dog poisoned.

New Case;

A report was received in the Potrerillos Neighborhood Watch Office advising that a North American resident located in Potrerillos discovered that one of her dogs had been poisoned on the date of 26-Jan-12. The owner indicated that the dog became sick but somehow survived the poisoning. She theorized that the perpetrator(s) must have places the poison on the inside of her fence where the dog came into contact with it. The Dolega Police Department was notified and has agreed to step up their patrols thought the area. No suspect information was provided.

Dog poisonings are common in our area and experience suggests that his type of criminal activity is a precursor to a burglary. If you have pets you are encouraged to monitor them closely at all times while outdoors.

Next New Case;

On the night of 21-Jan-12 an unidentified American owned home located in Potrerillos Arriba was the latest target of unsuccessful burglary attempt. The incident occurred when the homeowner’s employee, a Panamanian man from Potrerillos Arriba who was tasked with watching the place heard noises that were described as the sound of someone trying to break into the residence. Information provided indicates that the employee immediately called the Dolega Police at about 0200 and reported the possible burglary. Patrol Units from Dolega were dispatched and quickly responded to the location but were unable to locate any suspects however some evidence of attempted burglary was discovered, this according to officials from the Dolega PD.

Next New Case;

A report received at the Potrerillos Neighborhood Watch Office indicates that another Panamanian family located in Potrerillos Abajo was the victim of theft when it was reviled that a cooking gas canister was taken from their home on or about 22-Jan-12. The incident occurred when unknown individual(s) forced their way in to the residence causing damage to the back door of the home and stole the gas tank. It was unclear if the victims filed a formal Police Report.

Those who posses and use small aluminum type gas cooking cylinders are reminded to take extra precautions to safeguard their tanks as thieves are constantly searching for any opportunity to steal them.

A Suspicious Death;

Approximately 30 days ago a women described as a Panamanian National 22 years old was discovered dead in the general vicinity of Caldera. Information received indicates that the death was believed to be the result of foul play but no details were provided, however it was reviled that the victim was a resident of Algarrobos, this according to the Dolega PD.

Public Safety Information,

There have been 2 recent cases where the Dolega “911” EMS Ambulance Responders were unable to locate the victims in Potrerillos who called for help. The first incident occurred about 45 days ago when a woman described as a Panamanian in her late forties severely lacerated her hand requiring urgent medical attention. The “911” Ambulance staffed by 2 paramedics responded to the area but were unable to locate the precise location of the victim.

In another incident a tourist described as a 73 year old women from North America lost her footing and fell fracturing her upper leg bone near the hip. Again the Dolega “911” service was dispatched and again they were unable to locate the victim. It wasn’t until the victim made a third call to the dispatch service in Panama City who operates the 911 Service for the whole of Panama that they finely figured it out. The EMS Unit eventually arrived but not without 1-hour and 15-minutes of confusing delays considering the EMS Station was only 12-minutes away from the victims location.

If you live in Potrerillos and need the services of the Dolega “911 EMS” you must call the main dispatch by dialing “911” and your call will be directed to the main National Dispatch Center in Panama City. You must be able to communicate you request for help in clear and concise Spanish verbiage in order to get them dialed in.

And if you live in Potrerillos tell them “Potrerillos, District of Dolega in Chiriqui” as there are several locations throughout Panama that contains the word Potrerillos as part of their name or location.

It is also recommended that you park a vehicle with the 4-way flashers on at the entrance of the victims location or on the main road that leads to the victim location. The Dolega 911 EMS responders have been notified to look for this indicator in order to help in identifying the correct location, this is especially true at night.

You should also utilize this tactic to assist the Police and Fire Department Responders as all of them (in Dolega) have been briefed by the Potrerillos Neighborhood Watch Facilitators on this helpful and time saving protocol.

For those of you who what to take it to the next level I recommend installing a flashing red beacon light out in front of your residence activated by a switch so it can be seen by responders (considering that Potrerillos has few street names and no house numbers). The EMS, Police and Fire Department personnel all agree that this is an excellent idea that everyone should consider.


Automobile related accidents are one of the most likely things that can and will happen to you if you are a driver in Panama. Attached is an accident that occurred in David recently in which the driver of the car appeared to have rammed a bus in the side.

Without a doubt having a dash board camera installed in your vehicle is perhaps one of the smartest things you can do for yourself. It is also common knowledge that if you are a gringo and in an auto accident in Panama there’s a good chance that you will be considered liable regardless of who was actually at fault.

More and more Ex-pats living in Panama recognize the value of this technology and are employing this type of protective equipment in their vehicles.

Potrerillos Neighborhood Watch Facilitator

3 thoughts on “Potrerillos Neighborhood Watch Criminal Activity Report: 1/28/2012

  1. Just want to give everyone a heads up as to what is happening in Puerto Armuelles. My wife and I were gone over the holidays and our house was broken into. The sad and unfortunate thing was that our Neighborhood watch was effective in being aware as to our absence and when they called the police at 7pm to tell them someone was breaking into our house they got the response ” we dont have a car available at the time so no one will be responding.” Mind you, unfortunately, these are Panamanians that were calling the police. It wasnt until 9pm that my neighbor beside me returned home and shot a gun in the air, that the thieves escaped the house. In short they stole jewelery, tools, and money valued at over 4 thousand dollars. Oops my mistake. I have learned my lesson. The thing that upsets me more than anything is since my return I have filed all the legal paperwork, corralled all the necessary witnesses, and discovered who broke in, who bought my stuff and have confessions from people involved, and I cant get the cops to do anything about it. The crazy thing about it is that the commander of the Chiriqui Police, Roberto Castillo lives a block away from me. I don’t know what to do. God forbid I take the law into my own hands. How can I get some help? Anyone with any ideas please let me know.


  2. Joe,
    With your permission I would like to contact Jessica Rosas who is the District Attorney and Criminal Analyst in David who also happens to be my niece. She has always told me that if I needed any help related to criminal activities or corrupt cops that I was welcome any time. If you don’t mine me saying this case has both of the ingredients. I also have a good friend in the National Police who is named Castillo, he may be related to your Castillo and if so I’m sure mine will communicate with you’re a and generate some motivation. In the mean time please save all of your evidence and whatever you have related to your case so Jessica has a starting point in her investigation (if she decides to take the case) You may also communicate with me direct if need, Don Ray can provide you with my private POC

    Potrerillos Neighborhood Watch Facilitator

  3. Absolutely, by all means you have my permission to do anything with the information I provided. Feel free to contact me at smokinjoeing@gmail.com. I went to the local prosecutors office to find out why the papers have not been delivered to the police here in Puerto Armuelles and was told that they were delivered to the Public Ministry in David on Jan 19th. When I tried to contact them their phones are out of service. If you want to contact me I can provide additional information as far as case numbers, etc.


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