New Alto al Crimen Report

The following is a new report from Alto al Crimen.

The last two months have seen a series of at least four terrifying home invastion robberies in the Alto Boquete and Volcancito areas, in addition to more minor burglaries. As we have observed in past difficult cases, it is often an observant citizen that breaks the case. So it was this weekend. 
Most of you know that a violent robbery took place last Thursday night in Volcancito, sending the victim to the hospital, the forth such attack in less than two months. On Friday, Alto al Crimen commissioned a private investigator to follow up. On Saturday, he was working with the police in Volcancito. 
At about 1:15PM, the Boquete Hotline operator received a call from a resident reporting suspicious activity at a neighbor’s house that was unocupied. He immediately contacted the officers who were working in the area. They arrived at the scene within minutes and observed two men running away from the residence.  Continue reading

Security Alert

I received the following from our neighborhood WhatsApp. I thought it was worth posting in English for others living in Chiriquí.

National Guard informs those who leave at night, those who leave University, work and out of school; If you find a child who cries in the street, with an address in hand, and asks them to accompany him/her to that address (albeit close), call or take the child to the police and not to the address… This is the new method that is being used for the abduction, robbery and rape.

WhatsApp message as I received it follows.

La Guardia Nacional informa a los que salen por la noche, a los que salen de la universidad, trabajo y a la salida de los colegios; Si encuentran a un niño que llora en la calle, con una dirección en la mano, y les dice que lo acompañen a esa dirección (aunque sea cerca), llamen o llévenlo a la policía y no a la dirección indicada… Este es el nuevo método que están usando para el secuestro, robo y violaciones.

Some Updates

I have been tied up for several days and still don’t have my head completely above water. The other day I, and other Wardens in Chiriqui, met with the New Chief of the ACS Unit for the U.S. Embassy in Panama City. He was in Chiriquí doing prison visits.

I have also been assisting a US citizen who was in Hospital Obaldia and that will probably be another post at some time for lessons learned by me.

Also, My good friend Malcolm Henderson, has had some healthcare experience, that I will share soon.

Now for some feedback that came as a result meeting the new ACS Chief and correspondence resulting from that meeting.

You may remember that I posted a scam warning had been posted on Chiriquí Watch the other day. It appears that what was reported is actually a Panama crack down on people living here on the tourist visa, which allows a visitor to stay 180 days at a time.

Cases have been reported of a people trying to exit on the 181th day, resulting in a huge fine and being advised to get a real visa. This should be considered to be a “Heads Up” for others.

Several people have been required to buy return tickets and provide proof that $500 was in their possession or credit cards to demonstrate financial viability.

All of this implies that those living in Panama using the tourist visa should be prepared for major annoyances at the Panama border.

Another item I have learned is related to converting US driver’s licenses into Panama driver’s licenses. I was advised to remind everyone that the US license must be Apostilled by the Panamanian government before the actual license can be applied for.

That means taking the document that the US Embassy certifies to the MFA on Tumba Muerto in Panama City. Therefore, if a US license is certified by the Embassy at an Outreach meeting, it would still require the person to make a trip to Panama City.

I was also told that they have recently also started to require all first time persons to go to the Sertracen location at Plaza Carolina for their driver’s licenses.   Renewals can be done anywhere, but first-timers need to go there.  You may want to check your local location to see what they say about that requirement.

Some might make the decision that, if that is the case, they might as well just to take the test in David and avoid the trip. My advise is spend the money and have your US license turned into a Panama license. I know of people that have spent two years taking classes and multiple exams and still don’t have their license.

More to follow, when I catch my breath.

Why Would Anyone Want To Move To Panama?

Now most people, that know me, know I enjoy living in Panama. So why this title for this post?

Well I think this is a question that many are going to be asking themselves, if some things continue as they are now.

I am not talking about the rising cost of living or the quality and cost of healthcare, even though my concern is related to one’s health.

I am talking about the growth of crime over the last few years. I guess one could say that this is partially related to the growth of foreigners that have found Panama as a retirement destination. The general state of world economy also breeds an increase in crime.

Those that are being targeted, however, are not just foreigners. Panamanians are as much victims as are the new foreign residents. The police activity at Plaza El Teronnal, that I posted the other day, was directed to Panamanians to increase their awareness.

There was a major robbery that was covered in the news recently that was orchestrated by gangs from Panama CIty enlisting new recruits from David. Continue reading

More then 100 Robberies in Boquete in the first 6 months of 2013

According to yesterday’s La Prensa, there were more than 100 robberies in Boquete in the first six months of 2013. Following is a BING translation of the article into English.

More than 100 robberies and thefts in Boquete in 2013


25/07/2013 – 114 cases of thefts and robberies They have been reported in the first six months of the year, in the District of Boquete, what worries the population, making it the national police allocated two vehicles to patrol the area and arranged operating and mobile checkpoints to curb crime.

Miguel Castillo, resident of Boquete, revealed that the situation in the area has changed due to the population increase, because before they were only 11 thousand inhabitants and now exceed 20 thousand.

According to the Mayor of this district, Manolo Ruiz, citizens must be created with – science on the issue of security, because often committed crimes leave Windows and doors open. “The biggest problem is theft, both in the residences of national and foreign,” he said.

Ruiz stressed that it will continue to apply the so-called “carrot law” in Boquete to curb the criminal activities. For this reason, Monday through Thursday bars, canteens and supermarkets may not sell liquor after midnight.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of the police area of Chiriqui, Julio Lasso, announced that as of this moment is reinforced security and surveillance in the district.


Home Invasion & Assault in Oriana

I received the following from Alto al Crimen.

Home Invasion & Assault in Oriana
Healthy Defense – Why prevention matters:
On Sunday, July 21, at around 7:30 PM, a resident went into the bedroom of his home on the canyon in Oriana and opened the window to let in a little air.
His wife out of the country, he retired to the living room with his three incessantly yappy dogs to watch TV.
Within minutes, he was astonished to see two men, dressed entirely in black, emerge from his bedroom. Within seconds, he was lifted up and slammed to the floor, apparently losing consciousness.

The dogs had no clue about the coming attack and provided no warning.


His next memory was that his legs were tied (with garbage bags it turned out) and a pistol was pointed in his face, a butcher knife from his kitchen across his throat. He was dragged by the arms into the bathroom and tied up further.

Dragged into the bedroom, he remembers the robbers screaming “MONEY, MONEY” into his face. He offered them his wallet, which they cleaned out, leaving behind credit cards and ID.

Then he was gagged, blindfolded and tied to a chair. He could hear them stealing two TVs from a closet, a big screen from the living room and other electronic items, including a desktop PC computer. Finally he heard them loading it all in his pickup truck, taking his keys and driving away.

Some 40 minutes later, he was finally able to escape from his bonds. His cell phones were gone and his land line did not work. He walked to a friend’s house, the Hotline was called and the police arrived promptly.
Read the rest of the post on the Alto al Crimen website.