Thursday, July 31, 2008


Vigilancia- (n) vigilance, state of being watchful and alert (especially to the possibility of danger); surveillance, careful observation of a person or group, observation

Soooooooo, we are in a state of vigilance. Watchfulness. Perhaps leaning towards paranoia. Yep, definitely leaning towards paranoia. When I got home from work yesterday I saw a crowd of neighbours standing on our street talking to some police officers. I didn't stop, didn't want to get involved, but told Hubby about it. When he got home from work he went to speak to the neighbours to find out what was up. I almost wish he hadn't but I guess it's a good thing he did. Apparently there has been a rash of robberies on our street. Not just break and enters, these are robberies at gun point while the residents are at home. ON MY STREET. A woman was robbed in broad daylight yesterday, they stole her valuables, her keys, her cel phone and then proceeded to call her home number from her cel all day warning her that they would be back and that they would hurt her. ON MY STREET. Another man across the street reported that he had been sleeping in his bed one afternoon and armed men entered his house, tied him up and robbed him. Another neighbour reports coming home, getting out of their car to open their gate and being confronted by three men with guns, forced into the house, tied up and robbed. ON MY STREET.

I live on a very short street.

When I discussed the matter at work this morning, I had three people tell me they had been robbed at knifepoint on Tulum Avenue in the last couple of weeks. One of them said that a police man watched as two knives were held to his throat and his belongings stolen.

My sleep last night was less than perfect, every little noise was someone coming to get me. Leaving for work this morning I almost hurt my neck as I was peering around and over my shoulder and in dark corners looking for the lurking danger. Coming home from work to enter my house alone had my heart pounding like I'd run a marathon. I'm sitting here alone and feeling creepy crawlies on my neck, wishing the cats would play where I could see them, not downstairs so it sounds like someone breaking in. Yes, I realize I am paranoid, but can you blame me?

Our next door neighbour has informed us that there will be a meeting on Saturday for the people in the hood. She mentioned getting everyone to contribute to hire 24/7 security or building gates around the street. If nothing else, I hope the meeting encourages everyone to watch out for themselves and for each other and to take extra security measures. I will be very surprised to see anyone at this meeting, but my fingers are crossed and I am hoping that we do manage to get some community effort out here.

In the meantime, I am watching my back. We are being extra careful when coming in and out of the house, locking the gate, double locking the doors, etc., etc.. I am practicing screaming "Ayuda!" in my head and rehearsing a speech to get ready to call the police. (By the way, there is no such thing as 911 here, dial 066 for police and emergencies). I am driving with my doors locked, putting my keys between my fingers while walking and keeping my cel phone at the ready if I am going in and out of the house by myself, rather than having it languish at the bottom of my big old purse. I am finding hiding spots for our "valuables" (we don't have much thank goodness), photocopying my identification, and taking photos of the few things we do have and putting the images on a disk to be stored at Hubby's office. I will be putting together a list of ways we can make our neighbourhood safer to share at the meeting (if it happens).

And you know, trying to play it cool and relax. No biggie right?

Nope, Canucka is not reactionary or paranoid in the least! Just practicing a little vigilancia.


Anonymous said...

Socorro- is the word you need to practice babe- and fuego (just like in the US) will actually prolly work better (unfortunately there are more looky-lu's in the world than there are heroes and helpers).

I'm sorry to hear you didn't sleep well... not much more you can really do though sweetie, so just try to breathe when the paranoia or fear gets intense. Your house is pretty well protected and visible.

I'm just up a couple o' streets so if you need someone to do a machete drive around the vencidario you just give me a call!! No one messes with a crazy lady in a clown car waving a machete around- no one. LOL.

Seriously- Hopefully this will blow over soon leaving behind the bonus of extra protection and cooperation between neighbo(u)rs!!

Anonymous said...

Holy Crap .. almost like living in the Detroit suburbs. You need a spray can of MACE. Maybe two cans. I think you are doing all possible to be very careful. (and not scare Max) Good luck with the meeting on Saturday. If people want safety, they will attend.
KW in Michigan

Fned said...

I also vote for Mace... or maybe one of those Tazer guns we're hearing so much about...

Seriously though, stay safe amiga.. keep your eyes open and stay alert. I do hope you get the vecinos together and you can come up with a way to keep each other safe.

A vigilar se ha dicho!!!

Jonna said...

Oh no, bad news. I'm sure it is all the same guys and if they caught them it would stop. They've found themselves a little corner to operate in and so far it has worked.

The problem with hiring the guards is you can never stop paying them. We are in that situation in Akumal, one company now has contracts with every building here. Clearly, if you decided not to hire them you would quickly have problems.

There was a robbery down the road where they tied up one of the vigilantes and then shot a guy that chased them. They caught 4 of them because they were still driving the guy they shot's Hummer in Playa the next day! Then they caught the other 3 when they came back to get the TVs they had stashed in the jungle. Talk about burros.

I think you are doing all that you can. It's not reassuring though when this kind of stuff is so close. Follow your gut and if you get a bad feeling, don't tell yourself it's silly. Act on it, don't get out of the car or don't open the door, whatever. There is no feeling silly in this situation.

I hope they catch them and put them away - well, who am I kidding but I do hope they catch them.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Asilo is the word I learned for help but I think it really means asylum.
Socorro sounds right to me. I know you don't want to do anything expensive but maybe trancas on the doors would help. You put zetas on either side of the door, using a 2x4 as the tranca. We used to call them burglar bars, but here we use them to keep our doors from blowing open in a hurricane.
One thing offices do sometimes NOB is install what looks like a surveillance camera along with flashing red light and put up signs stating 24 hour surveillance. Of course the assumes alert crooks.
I vote for pepper spray and a roll of quarters, easier to hang on to than keys. see this article:
how to use a roll of quarters in self denfense
and as the article says when they are confused run! don't stay and fight.
I wish you the best.

Anonymous said...

OMG! How scary. Better to be vigilant than have your head up your ass.
I vote that you hire Lisa to drive around with the clown car and machete. I can just picture that.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Chica, this is so scary. With tourism down in both our towns on top of normal low season, combined with a steady influx of poor people from other states in Mexico, an increase in the number and severity of crimes doesn't surprise me as much as it might have years ago.

One of my friends here (a block away from me) has been receiving messages left on her vehicle (obviously someone who watches her, as they know she is a gringa and drives that car)threatening her with kidnaping, rape, and murder if she does not leave $ in specific locations...which, of course, she has not done. The police, of course, scoff. I fear for her.

Please take care and be ever vigilant.

Kathy said...

I used to think it was silly that we live in a gated community (well, sort of) but this season's low season has been a real doozy. Our head of security lives in Cancun. I'll see if he has any ideas.

Stay safe - it has been a really tough low season this year.

Kathy said...

Oh, and Kel, there is a certain someone over on a certain island with what is reported to be a very stiff and dense piece of wood. Maybe that's what you need? :) Maybe you can use it instead of a baseball bat?

Kathy said...

I'm guessing though, that eventually he'll want it back...

JoAnne in CT said...

Wow, that's scary Kelly! You're doing all the right things - I agree with the pepper spray. They make small ones on keychains so it's always at the ready.

Stay safe!

Islagringo said...

Bad, bad news. It sounds like after Wilma when people were answering their doors and getting their heads chopped off! Be prepared for many a fitful night of sleep for awhile. I have turned my house into a prison and I still get up at every strange noise. What really scares me is that people are being attacked in broad daylight with the police doing nothing. Can you imagine the sonic boom that would occur if every police officer in Mexico took their thumb out of their ass at the same time!

Be alert amiga.

Susan Lechuga said...

Mama please be careful. I am worried for you. What do they pay those officers to do down there? I hope you find a way to be safe and soon. You are in my thoughts and stay alert.

Alex said...

Oh it sucks! be safe please, the "material" stuff really doesn't matter, but your safety does. get the mace spray, just in case!

Anonymous said...

Don't leave the success of Saturday's meeting up to chance. Go out there and distribute flyers about it and post flyers on posts! I'm serious. Inform people.

Heather said...

wow all the stuff you are doing sound great. Good job as always of being prepared. For now I think i'd be spending a lot of time at someone else's house, lol!
Hopefully though, now that the word is out, they wont bother your street anymore.

Somebody said...

I hate to hear what you're going through but Lisa was right with 'Socorro y fuego'; it's more likely that you'll actually get help!

Hide everthing you can even if you have put valuables in a plastic ziplock and bury 'em under a shrub in the back yard.

I hope that everything worked out with the meeting and that you guys can get some protection. Stay safe and know that you guys are in my prayers :)


minshap said...

I'm always way behind reading other blogs... but just want to say that i hope THEY HAVE CAUGHT THOSE ·$"#$%/"%$(#x="&//$%· BY NOW. As Jonna said, that's the only way to end this... and as rivergirl says, do even more - put posters up and inform people. That will ensure they are either caught, or scared off for good. And finally, another good word: AUXILIO!!! Let us all know when they've caught those guys!

CancunCanuck said...

Ok, way behind on reesponding to comments, 18 of you, wow! So, I will make one comment to all of you (I know, so lazy). THANKS for all advice and concern, it's much appreciated. There was a small community meeting on Saturday and it was decided that we would start a "Neighbourhood Watch" kind of thing. Everyone is going to be vigilant, watching not only their own house, but neighbours' as well. The plan is to distribute information to everyone and to put signs up in the hood saying "WE'RE WATCHING", hoping to scare the bad guys away. On the weekend we put in extra locks and lights around the house and talked to more neighbours.

I'm scared to get Mace or any kind of weapon, with Max around it's more likely that he will get hurt than a bad guy and up against a gun I would rather just give them the stuff and run away than to try to fight. We are uber aware of our surroundings right now and will continue to be "eyes wide open" for the whole hood. I'm feeling better than I was a couple of days ago, knowing we are doing all we can to protect ourselves and that others are on board takes away the sense of helplessness.

So, thanks all, sorry for the lack of personal responses, I left this too long!!!

3LittleFlowers said...

Scary scary scary!!! In fact, now I feel like I have to look everywhere too....

I will keep you guys in my prayers!

tacogirl said...

We are practicing vigilancia here in San Pedro too the island is split into different areas for neighborhood watch. Thinking of you being safe and all is good there.

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