Police response in Ecuador, an observation

Posted on September 8, 2011 • Filed under: Crime, Ecuador, Police/Military Activity, Social Issues

One of the complaints you hear about police in Ecuador is lack of police response or involvement when a crime. Well I had the chance to observe police action in August 2011.

Enjoying myself in a small house in a lower income neighborhood in Guayaquil, I heard a commotion outside and saw a man run past the window. I went outside to investigate and became alarmed to see close to fifteen police converge on the small street and going into the house a few doors down.

Witnesses stated that a thief had committed a robbery of an individual in the park down the street and while running down this small street while changing his shirt darted into a house that construction workers were remodeling. Police entered the house and brought out the man. All the workers and the family that lived there said the man police apprehended was working on the house with the other workers. The police didn’t believe the story and one officer even stated “you all say we never do anything and when we respond, you won’t help us with the criminal”.

The police then brought the witness to identify the assailant who had used a gun while robbing the victim. There was a positive I.D. made and police then put the suspect in the truck along with the victim in the back. They then searched for a gun throughout the house with no luck. The owners of the house continued to tell officers the suspect was the wrong person that he had been working in the house.

I thought how interesting to see police responded to an incident, toke the criminal into custody, and hopefully made the area safer for the residents. I also was pleased to see a victim ID a criminal which does not happen often in Ecuador because victims are often fearful of a reprisal. Here are a couple of things I learned after the police left.

1.The alleged criminal really was a thief and well known in the neighborhood. Often residents will not provide assistance to police in identifying or testifying against a criminal who is known in the area due to the chance of reprisal.
2. An hour later the criminal came walking down the street went to the house and the owners came outside and handed him his gun. The family actually knew the criminal very well. They were covering for him.
3. Probably what happened according to some witnesses is that the victim became scared to testify and would not press charges or the criminal made some type of a payoff to officers to be released.
4. The reason the police responded to the crime according to some witnesses was that it happened almost right in front of the police station located at the park.
5. A personal observation: One night I noticed some suspicious behavior of some men in a truck by the park and called the emergency number. No one answered after fifteen rings so I hung up. Almost an hour later my pone rang and the operator asked what my emergency was. I apologized for phoning that the situation was no longer in progress. So much for police response.

This story was submitted by a witness in Ecuador.





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