Tag Archives: Chiriquí Neighborhood Watch

WhatsApp Neighborhood Networks

As a result of my previous robbery post, I am going to talk about the WhatsApp application again. My neighborhood, and many other neighborhoods, are using this smart phone application as a means to quickly and easily notify neighbors with information.

One of the uses is alerts about crimes or potential crimes.

Suspicious people in our neighborhood will have their photos distributed immediately, asking if they are known by someone living in the neighborhood and should they be here.

With a few clicks, messages can be distributed to friends, family, clubs, and neighborhood watch groups, etc.

If your response is that you don’t have a smart phone, my response to you is “get one”. This is becoming technology that may save your life.

Besides a smart phone, you will need to have a data plan with a mobile carrier. They cost no more than $15/month or less. With that, you have access to the internet from your smart phone, even if your electricity is turned off in your house.

In this current situation, the individual could have sent a message simply saying, “I hear noises in my house and am going to check”. Then the person could shout in the house, “ I have notified neighbors and police , if someone is in the house, now is your time to leave”. Of course the verbal notification should be spoken in Spanish.

Now, if something does happen, there is a recorded timeline of the occurrence. If there is nothing going on, a followup “All Clear” message can be sent out.

I recommend that all bedrooms be safe rooms, meaning that they can be locked. If you think something is possibly going on in another part of your domicile, you should not leave your safe room until you KNOW it is safe.

WhatsApp is not a complete solution, but it is one that should be in your arsenal. You should have several of the following items as well (dogs, bars on the windows, alarms, cameras, membership of neighborhood watch groups, a buddy that checks on you at some given frequency).

You can’t eliminate crime in the Panama, but you can prepare for its occurrence.

Report of Break-in around the Nuevo David/Emerald Drive Community

The following report was posted on Boquete News on FaceBook. Neighborhood watch groups work. The YouTube video above shows the three individuals walking the Nuevo David/Emerald Drive Community neighborhood in Boquete. If you see individuals in your neighborhood, that don’t seem to belong, record their activities and notify the authorities.

Report of Break-in around the Nuevo David/Emerald Drive Community, by Michael Moore.

About 4:30pm, neighbors noticed 3 individuals walk into our community and continue down one of the connecting streets in our neighborhood. These individuals didn’t belong in our neighborhood. So the neighbors got in their car and drove a couple blocks to a house where they saw these folks walk to. When the good neighbors got close to the house, they observed two perps outside the back of the house by a barred window looking in and who appeared to be chatting with a person inside the house. When the good neighbors pulled up, the perps took off running to the far side of the community where there is a creek. This was about 4:45pm. The police were called and they arrived within a few minutes. The neighborhood whatsapp security group was contacted and told there were thieves in the area. When my wife and I arrived about 5:20pm, Captain Arauz and two police officers were onsite…and other officers were patrolling the larger area.

It was believed that one of the perps might still be in the house. So, the owner was contacted and he gave permission for neighbors to enter the house to search for the perp. The police concluded that the perp who got into the house, slipped into the house through the 1 foot square security bars. The neighbors loosened the security bars and entered the house. Above the windows with the security bars were two large unsecured windows through which a quick escape could be made and booty from the house sent out. The security bars were flimsy and of poor quality. The property did have a perimeter defense system…but it was turned off. A search of the house by 3 neighbors showed no one was inside. One neighbor observed that the TV was in the process of being wrapped and that stuff in the house had been shuffled about.

Update on Latest Santa Lucia Boquete Armed Robbery

The following was posted on Boquete Ning by the individuals that were robbed in Santa Lucia Boquete.

Anyway we are quite o.k. now. We are very pleased with the help of all our neighbours. The police was fast and very good.

As I speak fluent Spanish things worked out fast.

Yesterday I made a statement at the police office in the street on the left after Multibank. Helen has to come back with an interpreter. The car has been found intact but locked in David and towed to the police parking. First thing we did yesterday morning was a visit to Scotia Bank. Blocked the Debit Cards.Nothing had been taking of the account. They also changed our account number in order to prevent shopping on line.

The police has been very busy on thursday because of 7 attacks and robberies around Boquete. The governor of Chiriqui is coming today to Boquete to discuss and take tough measures to prevent crime. At the entrance near the tourist office they will put a surveillance post also with cameras. The police advised us to buy pepper spray and tasers.

We also got a letter from the police for a free medical examination in David for the case in court when they catch the criminals. The two men were normally dressed between 22-26 years old, normal hair. Dark Panamanian skin. They both had a gun. They must have been watching us for some time, as are dogs are inside the house when we are out and a big sign of our alarm. They knocked on the door and Helen thought it was one of our neighbours opening the door. They pointed their guns at us and the dogs ran out. Fortunately they did not attack as that would have caused a tremendous gun battle.

I lived in dangerous Nigeria and in Saint Lucia (Caribbean), but this assault has been the fist in my life. Thanks again for all the support. Robert, Helen and the 4 doggies.

A Blind Eye and a Deaf Ear

I first visited Chiriquí in early 2002. I spent two weeks looking around Chiriquí and from that short amount of time I decide to sell my home in Texas and move here. I was just as naive as many moving here now.

However, there is one big difference between then and now. When I moved here crime was almost 100% crime of opportunity. You leave your garden tools laying in front of the house they would disappear. You leave the house unlocked, you might come home to fine your laptop or other small items were missing. You might pull into a manual gas pump and not notice that the attendant didn’t reset the pump and you wound up overpaying for your gas.

Sure there were murders, just like in all parts of the world, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Fast forward 13 years to 2015 and the picture has changed a lot. This is not just my viewpoint. On my block, I am the only gringo. I believe everyone on my block is concerned with the increase of crime. Our block has chosen to add an extra layer of protection and we have a night guard that patrols the street. Our block periodically meets and usually the topic is security.

Moreover, this is not just the increase in crime that worries people, but there is also a change in the types of crimes. There are still crimes of opportunity, but there has been a tremendous growth in armed home invasion. In many instances this winds up in death of the occupants of the house.

Until recently, it seemed that the English speaking community only learned of this through the grapevine. Social media is helping to get the word around, providing the social media you belong to contains it. For a while some areas seemed to prefer keeping crime quiet because it might affect home resale value. Continue reading A Blind Eye and a Deaf Ear

Paso Ancho Home Invasion

On another Yahoo group the following Home Invasion was recently posted.

Carmen and I were invaded last Monday by a couple of 20 something neighborhood hoodlums at about 8ish am broad daylight!. One of the boys threatened Carmen brandishing a machete, (I think that they believed that nobody was home and that they would have free-reign of the place; that’s why Carmen had completely surprised them when she quietly showed up between the greenhouse and the kitchen area thinking that the noises she was hearing was just myself rummaging around in the kitchen; when she saw a masked young man skulking low around the kitchen area, she then courageously and loudly asked him what in HELL was he doing in our home and to get the HELL out immediately!! The other idiot then responded to her screams by entering from the dining area where he was staking out the situation with a machete in his hand-no mask; when I heard Carmen screaming and I began to react to the situation-too late, unfortunately or fortunately; because, we both believe that if I had seen them I would’ve gone into a raging ‘berserker’ mode with these idiots; and it could have turned out much worse, I fear!); anyway, after she screamed “J O O O H N”, they left so fast-thank goodness-that I didn’t even see them as I left the backroom to see what was happening with Carmen screaming! She was in the small greenhouse by our kitchen in the front of our home. The invaders had entered through the kitchen door after having hopped the fence in the southwest corner that is right next to the road and Dirk’s place. It all happened sooo fast that I didn’t even see them leave. Carmen DID get a clear look a the machete-brandishing kid, though. Luckily, two of our neighbors saw them and one identified the one carrying the machete.
We went to the corriadora, Orquidea, up in Cerro Punta, after we had called the policia/DIJ, who all showed up within the hour. Lt. Martinez and one other came to take the report and then 5 DIJ fellows showed up to take notes of what had happened. We don’t expect anything to be done very soon, if at all.
After 12 yrs living here in our little “sanctuary” in Paso Ancho, we now know how lucky we’ve faired. Life has changed for us now in a fundamental way, as we now feel very vulnerable (and realize that we’ve always been very vulnerable to this kind of thing happening to us, as has happened to others of our neighbors some years back. Most of the homes around us have been entered illegally and stolen from, by now, it seems. We are now in the process of putting up razor-wire and, eventually, an electric fence, as well, to, hopefully, prevent such easy access to happen again to soon, at least; but, most importantly and as is already being done in other areas, we are also are organizing a neighborhood-watch group for our section of Paso Ancho. We met Saturday and will meet again at the end of the week. Please call us, if you live in our section of PA. Our numbers are on the Highlanders.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and please give Carmen a call, if so inclined, as she’s still quite shaken up. We know this is traumatic for all who have experienced such an invasion and we know and feel deeply for those of who have been through HELL with this in the recent past and for those who didn’t make it out alive that are/were friends and acquaintances. Many of us know of whom I refer.
Blessed Be to all in all ways.
John and Carmen

Boquete Robbery

I received a request to post the following.

hello everyone,

bad news. we were robbed yesterday and our dogs are missing. they are wearing tags with our phone number, but no one has called. last time a flyer that susie b. put up brought our luci back to us. i am hoping for another miracle. please print this flyer and put it up at the places you frequent – especially in David (where our car was found). hair salons, gyms, restaurants, supermarkets, are all good. somebody knows something and the dogs might be a clue to the recent robberies. please feel free to forward this to anyone and everyone. thanking you in advance. dee and rich


LOOTING in Cerro Punta

The following was posted on the Volcan Yahoo Group.

We have had another issue in Las Nubes, a break in and theft. The police responded (from Volcan!, not Cerro Punta) at 11 pm to a call from our (unidentified) neighbors. When the cops got there, two men fled into the jungle and were not caught. Shots were fired (by the police). They arrested two females sitting in a car. (The females, from the Volcan/Paso Ancho area) said they had nothing to do with the men and because there was no evidence in the car, they were released from jail. Anyway, it took a couple of nights to steal what they did. And a truck. They took the front French doors, the exterior bedroom door, the bathtub, the shower doors, the two sinks from the master bedroom the white ones that sit on the counter. The police recovered several bags of stuff they were trying to steal that night. They were recovered and Yessica has them. They will probably not be back as they now know that the house is being watched. But please keep your eyes and ears open about our stuff being for sale .
Bob and Chris are out of the county.Their house was partly destroyed in the August 2014, Las Nubes flood. Everything except the fixtures had been removed.

The open doorways have now been boarded up.

WARNING: Home invasion Yesterday in Brisas

The following thread is currently running on Boquete Ning.

Just a few minutes after 5, this afternoon, AAC received  a call from a neighbor asking for help in Brisas.

He was getting home with her wife when 3 men got inside their property through the gate before it shut, and aimed a gun at his face. They tied them down,  beat him on the face to the point that his nose was broken. And after that locked his wife in a room. They took 500 dollars, tv, lap tops and their 2013 Hyundai Tucson Silver colored.

The wife is Panamanian and they told him to do not call the police or they will come back and kill them. The robbers took all their cell phones and cut their land line phone. It was after almost 2 hours that the victims were able to release them selves and ask for help.

The police went to the place . AAC is in touch with the police in David who have  the license car number to try to locate it as soon as possible. 

I will pst more when we have the information. Please be aware of your surroundings 

This sort of thing is becoming more common. You may want to follow the thread on Boquete Ning.

Robbery at PriceMart – April 30

The following was posted on Boquete Ning and is worthy of repeating.

On Thursday, April 30 a lady visiting Boquete went to PriceMart to shop. At about 10:30 A.M. as she exited her car, a man around 30 years old was crouching near her door. One of his hands was hidden and he indicated by his movements that he had a weapon of some kind inside his shirt. He demanded money. She produced some money and gave it to him. Fortunately she retained her passport and other documents.

The man entered a mid-sized blue sedan and drove away. She reported the incident to a security guard inside the store, but he said he could do nothing.

Be aware of your surroundings when you park at PriceSmart or any other large parking area.

This lady was new to the area and did not have the Alto al Crimen Hotline number in her phone. An immediate call has the possibility, though slim, of having police intercept the criminal(s).