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Dear Editor:

Dear Editor:

 

Congratulations, Atencion!

Previously, I have been critical of the Atencion’s (heretofore) glossing-over of crime in San Miguel de Allende. Today, I applaud the candid article in the March 8, 2019, edition, “Murders in San Miguel Becoming More Frequent, More Public.” I am grateful for Jesús Aguado’s sound and courageous article, and I respect the newspaper’s socially responsible philosophy demonstrated in it.

In reflecting on the article, I recalled eight violent incidents in recent years in which friends or acquaintances have been robbed, assaulted, pistol-whipped, or worse. Research reveals only 6.8 percent of crimes are reported, largely due to citizens’ lack of confidence in the justice system and the fact that only 18 percent of reported crimes result in apprehension. Thus, less than 1 percent of criminals are brought to justice. I have two observations to share with respected government officials in authority.

First, all the talk, promises, and plans for correction to enhance safety and security are meaningless until the pathetic prosecution rate of crimes nationwide in Mexico increases from the dismal 1 percent to about 50 percent. Presently, criminals will continue to carry out their evil deeds with impunity because they are assured that they will not be caught and brought to justice. The morally void perpetrator considers, “Why not rob a house, steal a car, mug an elderly person, rape a woman, or shoot a random passerby if I have a 99 percent chance of getting away with it?”

Secondly, while the police patrolling in the evenings in various colonias is appreciated, the practice of flashing lights does more harm than good. These lights hamper the vision of drivers facing them. What is worse, the lights signal to the criminal, “We are right down the road and giving you fair warning to leave before we see you! Go away!”

The concern for citizens’ safety ought to be the foremost concern of both national and local governments. To avoid the issue, talk it down, merely engage in interviews and meetings, or steer the conversation off topic will prove to be shortsighted.

I do not doubt either the heart or the intelligence of our respected leaders, but I humbly suggest a refreshing discussion of how to swiftly (and visibly) bring criminals to justice so that serious jail time is a sure thing for these criminals. If leaders respond, “Well, most of the time, the victims are drug dealers in competition with the perpetrators,” the response would be entirely inadequate because it avoids the pathetic 1 percent prosecution rate issue. If the safety issue is ignored, San Miguel de Allende can expect a deep dive in real estate values and eventually an unprecedented exodus of citizens.

Mr Aguado and Atencion’s headline of “Paradise Lost?” on the cover of the March 8, 2019, edition is more than a journalist’s “attention getter”— it is indeed a prediction.

 

Jay Vlasak

Jay Vlasak is a retired California high school principal and 15-year resident of San Miguel de Allende.

 

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