Petition to Gov. Mendoza regarding crime wave in Todos Santos
In late May 2017, ACTS delivered a formal letter to the BCS Governor regarding our extreme concern on the burglary/assault issue facing Todos Santos and nearby communities. Sixteen additional BCS, Todos Santos, Pescadero and Elias Calle officials were give copies of the “governor’s letter.”
ACTS will be initiating a two-week long petition drive starting May 27 that will hopefully be as successful as the one held almost five years ago. During that ACTS Security Drive, 75% of the signators were Mexican.
May 22, 2017
Governor Carlos Mendoza Davis
La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Dear Governor Carlos Mendoza Davis:
The purpose of this letter, to be followed by a community-wide petition, is to urge you to use the power of your office to stop the current crime spree that is occurring in Todos Santos and its surrounding communities. We, the Mexican and foreign communities, do not want a temporary “fix” and are pleading that you help us secure a permanent solution.
Originally, a letter was to be sent to you on April 20th; however, because of the implementation of new security by the BCS State Police, the ACTS Board of Directors decided to wait and determine if this new force made a difference. Unfortunately, instead of crime diminishing, it has escalated. Apparently, the twelve new police are stationed in our area on an intermittent basis, thus rendering service that is by and large ineffective in preventing burglaries.
This is the third letter that the ACTS Board of Directors (Asociacion de Colonias de Todos Santos) has written to a BCS Governor since November of 2012. The 2012 letter was accompanied by a petition that had been circulated in only one week and contained almost 2000 signatures, of which 75% were local Mexican citizens. In our previous letters, we have voiced our extreme concern regarding the safety of residents and property because of burglaries and assaults. And, after each of our appeals, the security situation in Todos Santos has improved for a year or so, only to escalate once again.
Unfortunately, we are now experiencing another much more serious period of home invasions, the recent armed robberies of two hotels and the burglary of a well-established restaurant. In addition to the thefts of electronics, jewelry, money, copper pipes/wire and solar panels, cars and trucks are now stolen. Crime has reached a critical level with homes burglarized whether the residents are inside or not. In fact, during the early morning hours of March 14th, a seventy-four-year old woman was tied up, head covered, sat on face-down, and completely traumatized while her safe was chiseled out of the concrete floor. Her subsequent bruises were pathetic and painful. (See attached photos).
ACTS has established a neighborhood watch (Vecino Vigilantes) system throughout several barrios and has met regularly with Delegado Jesus Beltran, an individual who is committed to the safety and welfare of all Todos Santos’ residents. ACTS also has tried to maintain on-going communications with local police officials. In spite of these efforts, the current criminals appear to burglarize “at will” and are becoming more violent to people and destructive to property.
Not only is the reputation and tranquil climate of Todos Santos becoming increasingly damaged, but the livelihood of Mexican businesses and workers is being hurt due to lost revenue. Tourists are cancelling house rental reservations; land owners are halting planned business projects; local Mexicans are losing wages; and residents are actively discussing ways to protect themselves and their property. The ACTS Board has great concern that at some point someone is going to become seriously hurt or even killed because people are afraid, angry and frustrated. In fact, we have overheard discussions indicating that residents may start taking things into their own hands.
Therefore, because of all of the above, we now urge you to do the following:
- Immediately station military and/or special forces units at numerous check-points throughout the area;
- Increase the Policia Preventiva from 10 to 18 persons per shift.
- Increase the Ministerio investigative unit from 3 to 10.
- Increase the number of police vehicles from two to six. (Please note: Having two vehicles to patrol or respond to emergencies from north of Pastora to south of Elias Calle is dangerous and totally ineffective.
- Facilitate the obtaining of search warrants so that houses of those suspected of burglaries can be more easily searched and known thieves can be arrested and jailed.
- Streamline and personalize the Demanda & Investigative process so that it is more responsive to victims.
We realize that you are dealing with severe crime problems in La Paz and Los Cabos for which there are no easy solutions; however, we strongly believe that the burglary/assault problems in Todos Santos and vicinities are within your power and ability to solve once and for all.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this serious matter.
ACTS Board of Directors
Eduardo Ochoa, President
Vickie Butler, Vice President
Judith Welch, Secretary
Denise Steffenhagen, Treasurer
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