Friday, October 8, 2010

Citizens Fight Back: Burgler Beaten by Neighbors

From a report (click here) in Norte Digital, by Herika Martinez Prado, one of the better security reporters in Juarez:

Late at night in Col. Valle de Santiago, a family returning home from an outing surprised a burgler inside their home. The burgler, Antonio Giner, 26, was taken outside by the owner, who began beating him. Neighbors wanted to kill him, and some suggested burning him (this has happened before, scroll down to last paragraph in my October 5 post), but instead he was turned over to the police. Martinez did an excellent job of interviewing people at the scene:

Note: in Mexico the term "linchar" (deriving from the English "lynching") refers to cases where neighbors kill a delinquent caught in the act: it does not suggest the use of a rope, as it does in American English. Newspapers in Mexico, for example, used the term to describe what happened to the two kidnappers in Ascencion two weeks ago, and to the death of the man at the barbecue stand yesterday. I will re-adopt the term in English, dropping the "y," hoping readers will understand the term's current usage in Spanish.

"...neighobors wanted to linch him, just like Ascencion, but it scares you because of your family that there might be reprisals and the police are not helping us for anything," said a neighbor.

Other neighbors complained that burglary has escalated in the last few weeks, especially of car batteries and residential break-ins.

A pointed comment by Martinez in her report: "the linching was prevented not by the presence of police but by the presence of reporters..."

"Sometimes the police don't even come. Last Tuesday they came but only because they were called in by newspaper reporters, but if you talk to them they practically ignore you. You call 066 and the lady who answers is rude to you sometimes even treating you worse than the criminal."

"Sometimes you even want to buy a gun, but for someone who is not in organized crime it is very difficult, but without one, imagine if a thief is here with me and my family, and what can I do, nothing, just say "come in?" and the police don't help."

"All of us in the neighborhood want to close off the major entry ways into the neighborhood and we are collecting signatures, we want to put in a steel gate or block it up or put up a gate with a watchman..."

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