Thursday, January 30, 2014

More Crimes In Ecuador, Or Just More Gringos NOT Taking Crime Seriously?

There seems to be more reports of crimes throughout the country of Ecuador. Of course authorities would love to keep its touristy image and keep the crimes all under wraps but that’s hard to do when violent crimes are happening throughout Ecuador on a consistent basis. 

Crimes on the coasts of Ecuador seem to be more prevalent. Why is that? Well, let’s find out. But first let us say this. If we do not make an effort to stay safe while living in a third world country, we will eventually become victims of crime as statistics say so.
 

More Naïve Gringos Means More Crime

Not all gringos are naïve, only those who are careless about personal safety in a third world country. Ecuador’s gringo population is growing and perhaps many of them are first time South America travelers.  We’ve warned before that South America is not a good first time travel destination, and yet, we see more and more gringos every day on the streets of Cuenca behaving in ways that are targetable for a theft, robbery, or home invasion.


If WE notice these details, how much more will a thief whose job it is to rob foreign tourists and expats? The thief is not going to go for the people who are not sporting anything of value, or who seem to look like they can run after them, or who don’t act lost or fearful.  It’s not that gringos haven’t heard these warnings. 


One north American retired lady confessed to us that “what fun is owning jewelry, if I can’t wear it”.  Welcome to South America!
 

Salinas Ecuador Armed Robbery/Home Invasion

Let’s take the latest home invasion in Salinas for instance. Go ahead and read the article first then come back to this blog post. You can read the full article here.


Frank and I know the Milina and Italian neighborhoods very well because we walked around all over the area, we even looked at some houses for sale, we talked with owners, and we saw up-close the neighborhoods. We go into much more detail about what we think of this area in terms of living in our new Ecuador Coastal Travel Guide. You will not want to miss out on reading this book if you are thinking of visiting or moving to the coast of Ecuador.


In a nutshell the Milina neighborhood, just like the Italian neighborhood next door to it, are not anything to write home to mom about.  It is a work in progress. When we were in those neighborhoods twice in one week, we saw many young men walking around in groups with nothing to do. That for us was a dead give-away. What do these young men do all day? How come are they not helping their mother or father in the family shop, working at a job, or on their computer, or whatever?


Okay, but that’s still really not why the British couple got robbed. Here’s why.

So…you are a gringo from the UK and you move into your new home, being probably the only foreigner in the neighborhood. So everyone in Salinas knows the new British couple lives over there in that house. You know why? You are the talk of the neighborhood, that’s why? Not to scare anyone but until the tittle-tattle that "the gringos live in that house over there" dies down, you'll be the talk of the neighborhood. 

What happens next is why they got robbed.


The gringo couple become lax and leaves their gate unlocked, because how else could the gun-wielding robbers push a steel gate in as the article states? So the gate was not locked…there is no way two men can push in a steel gate, unless it was unlocked. Ummmmm.


And…they got robbed. Now it was probably not the first time they left their gate unlocked and the young men walking around, neighbors walking by, whoever saw this relaxed attitude about security took advantage.  This is all it takes to become a victim in Ecuador…an unlocked gate.


Curiously, the article states how the couple has NOW decided to ramp up security in the home after this armed robbery. We’ve read this before, people ramping up security only AFTER an assault.  This shows a lack of awareness.   But what if his wife would have been shot and killed. What if they would have raped her…remember they had guns.


UPDATE - 2-Weeks after the first armed robbery: The same British couple were robbed again by three assailaints with guns. According to the article they jumped over the fence and the husband was knocked on the head by a gun, and they were robbed.


What does this second armed robbery in the span of two weeks say? It says this UK couple has unfortunately been marked by the bad apples as an "easy" target...


You can read the developing story here.

American Couple Assaulted in Broad Daylight in a Popular Park


It is curious how some people wait until something bad happens to them to change or improve themselves and their surroundings. Rather than change for the new environment and culture, and blend in and practice the security measures posted on popular blogs and written in popular books they remain stubborn and lax with their personal security. 


Unfortunately most websites minimize crime, or just give a hodge podge of information that leaves out some important detail because, well, they don’t live on a local level.

Take the expat couple who very recently were enjoying a leisurely walk by Parque Calderon in Cuenca Ecuador.  Read the full story here and then come back to this blog post. 


Some bloggers do give good warnings, yet it is easy for something to slip through the cracks when just reading around all over the internet.  A solution is to have a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts  in one place, which is what we do in the DIY Cuenca Landing Guide and which is what we are now doing in the DIY Quito Landing Guide!

in Ecuador you can be assaulted in broad daylight for seemingly normal every day things! It does not matter that the park has police; it helps but it does not totally deter crime because, the perpetrators know that they will not spend any real amount of time in Jail due to lax criminal laws, besides they see older expats walking slowly, perhaps limping, acting lost or fearful...

...they see expensive clothing, purses, cell phones, jewelry and it becomes inevitable that at some point as long as the couple remains lax to their surroundings they will be targeted. It’s not too hard to understand.

Do We Feel Less Safe because there Seems to be More Crime in Ecuador?


Absolutely not! Do you know why? Because we actually follow all of our security guidelines listed in our DIY Cuenca Landing Guide and blog. We have never felt unsafe in Cuenca, Quito or the coast. Frank and I recently traveled the entire coast of Ecuador and then Quito, integrating into the culture and blending in as much as possible and never once felt threatened.


Taxi Assaults, Robberies, and Killings



Sadly, a man from Japan got himself shot and killed because he was too determined to get him and his wife a taxi rather than go in the one the hotel offered to call for him. We do not know why the Japanese tourist chose to hail down a taxi right off the street that one evening, but they did and it resulted in his death.


You wonder, did they not read all over the Internet that hailing taxis off the street is dangerous and could result in robbery, assaults, rapes, and killings in the larger cities? Apparently not. Perhaps they could not read English and didn’t know that getting into any taxi in Guayaquil is dangerous.
 

Why People Don’t Practice What They Read
 

We have this lax attitude that “it won’t happen to me”, however, it will happen to me, if I allow myself to be a target of crime through my own vulnerability and naivety. We’ve heard of people who have been repeated victims of crime. Maybe they think it won’t happen to them a second or third time.
 

For some of us, we do not heed the warnings because we are too stubborn and haughty. Therefore we do not practice what is advocated to us by others, even if that means our personal safety and well-being.
 

We want to be in control of our lives through how we see fit, not how others say we should live. We do not want to change to our new environment, blend in, learn Spanish, or anything that takes us out of our dream world and that is the problem.
 

***The problem with crime in Ecuador is not that there is more of it; the problem is there are more naive gringos moving here making themselves be the victims of crime. ***

Don’t let all the recent reports of assaults, shooting, kidnappings, and robberies stop you from coming to Ecuador, just make sure that you follow all the safety guidelines we have written in the DIY Cuenca Landing Guide, on our blog, and in our up and coming DIY Quito Landing Guide! 


Here is proof that no matter who you are and how savvy you think you are, crime is just around the corner if we let our guard off.  So then, don’t you want to make sure you know all the ins and outs on crime in Ecuador or any third world country for that matter.


Nothing has changed in Ecuador, there is still crime.


To know exactly when the Ecuador Coastal Guide and the DIY Quito Landing Guide will be published your best bet is to SUBSCRIBE to this blog! :-) 

3 comments:

  1. Blaming the victim I see... That's rationalizing the fact there is a serious crime problem against expats in Ecuador and other Latin countries. Is it worth constantly living in fear that you will be robbed one day? What kind of life is that? A lot of North Americans are fleeing their home country but don't realize they are more safe at home than overseas.

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  2. No they aren't. Pick any major city at random in the US and walk through every corner of it with a your Iphone, air jordans, rolex etc hanging out and you'll be just as much a statistic.

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