Lake Chapala Communities Fight Crime

March 31, 2012

Here's the latest response to our uptick in crime. "Our area remains one of the safest retirement destinations in the world and we plan to keep it that way." Sid Grosvenor
CSI Chapala is pleased to announce the implementation of the following safety initiatives:
  1. 1. “Anonymous Witness” Hotline  (01-800-839-1416)
  2. 2. Re-launch of Neighborhood Watch Program
  3. 3. Installation of a new phone system at the Chapala Police station and bilingual phone answering.
  1. 1. “Anonymous Witness” Hotline (01-800-839-1416)
CSI Chapala is very pleased to announce the commencement of the “Anonymous Witness” Hotline, effective as of February 2. Our committee has worked closely with the Chapala Municipality, especially our Police Chief, Captain Reynol Contreras, who has been extremely supportive of this effort.
The “Anonymous Witness” Hotline is modeled after Crime Stoppers International, an international non-government organization that helps citizens to assist law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime all over the world. Crime Stoppers is now successfully assisting police in 28 countries worldwide.
Solving crimes effectively cannot be done by the police alone.  Criminals are not ghosts. They live among us, law abiding citizens. Every criminal has a neighbor. Through the community’s “eyes and ears”, critical information and tips can be provided to the police, which they may not otherwise receive, that could be vital in bringing criminals to justice.
In the past, there have been concerns by citizens about personally reporting such information for fear of reprisals. Now you can safely help stop the people who are depriving the peace from our community by calling the toll-free “Anonymous Witness” Hotline (01-800-839-1416) with information about a criminal activity and the callers’ anonymity is guaranteed.
You can make a difference. You can become an anonymous hero.
How does it work?
  • You call the Mexican toll free number, 01-800-839-1416. This call is completely confidential. The call is automatically transferred to Canada, to an independent and professional call center which is part of Crime Stoppers International, and it will be answered, in either Spanish or English, by a professional operator.
  • The operator will ask you a series of questions in order to better understand your information. That operator is not interested in who you are, but rather in what you know.  The operator does not have a caller ID on the phone and your phone number will not be recorded. Not even the police, who will receive the information you provide, will be able to find out your identity.
  • The information from the call will be transcribed and sent securely via email, in Spanish, to the Chapala Police. This information will also be sent to an unnamed private citizen who will review the leads with the Police Chief on a routine basis.
By guaranteeing a caller`s anonymity, Anonymous Witness allows the caller to give information in a positive atmosphere without the prospect of retribution.
At this time, it was decided that for the time being there will not be monetary rewards payments, primarily to ensure the safety and anonymity of the callers, since the payment of rewards requires an additional level of interaction with the callers. However, we will reconsider this decision as we gain more experience in this program and based on the results obtained, mostly on the veracity and authenticity of the information..
Will the “Anonymous Witness” Hotline Work?
The answer is quite simply yes. Based on the experience of Crime Stoppers in over 28 countries, millions of calls have been received resulting in hundreds of thousands of arrests and in the recovery of substantial amounts of property. Calls have included information about murder, kidnapping, missing persons, robbery, rape, assaults, and drug offenses. 

The success of a Crime Stoppers program cannot be purely judged on statistics; however, there are other benefits which have come to be noted:

  • A greater awareness in the community that there is a crime problem.
  • A willingness by the community to fight back against crime if it is given the opportunity and motivation.
  • Improved relationships between the police and the community.
How will the “Anonymous Witness” Hotline be successfully implemented?
In order to be successful, the “Anonymous Witness” Hotline needs to be actively used by the community. To that end, CSI Chapala will be implementing an intensive informational program by conducting seminars, making presentations at local community centers, handing out pamphlets, installing posters in key locations and asking key organizations to inform their constituents.
  1. 2. Re-launch of the Neighborhood Watch Program
Every day, we encounter situations calling upon us to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement. Not only does neighborhood watch allow citizens to help in the fight against crime, it is also an opportunity for communities to bond through service. The Neighborhood Watch Program draws upon the compassion of average citizens, asking them to lend their neighbors a hand.
The Municipality of Chapala has already established a Vecinos en Alerta (Neighborhood Watch) program and CSI Chapala is re-launching it through more active community participation.
Recommendations for security and safety for you.
  • ‘Prevention’ is the best method to decrease crime in our neighborhood
  • .
  • It is up to all citizens to participate in the prevention of crime, through the increased communication with your neighbors and the authorities.
  • All members of the community need to work together in an organized way
  • Ideas to improve communications: involve all your neighbors, assign an area co-ordinator or leader, hold meetings to exchange security, safety and crime prevention ideas.
  • Seek help from the local authorities.
  • It is important to report all criminal acts to the Chapala Police and the Ministerio Publico office. Both reports are essential for any arrests and/or convictions to be valid. In Mexico, reporting to the police alone is not sufficient to maintain an offender under custody.
  • Provide the necessary information such as what, where, who, description of culprit, vehicles involved, hours of occurrence, and other information that would lead to the capture of the delinquents.
In case of an emergency, contact the Chapala Police and clearly give this message, in Spanish, AND SPEAK VERY SLOWLY:
English:  Help! Help! (say it twice), Say your name, Say  your address, subdivision and town.
Spanish: Ayuda! Ayuda! Mi nombre es: John Doe. Yo vivo en:  222 Lazaro Cardenas,         Upper La Floresta,  Ajijic
-          Chapala Police  765-4444
-          Ministerio Publico    765-2415
-          Red Cross   765-2308
-          Emergency 066
In support of Neighborhood Watch, CSI Chapala will be implementing an intensive informational program together with the “Anonymous Witness” Hotline.
  1. 3. Installation of a new phone system at the Chapala Police Station
The Chapala Police station phone system is very antiquated and has limited functionality. On too many occasions, calls are dropped when being transferred from one extension to another. The quality of the voices is poor and has led to many misunderstandings in obtaining the information from the callers. It is significantly hampering the efficiency of the services and has led to some frustration on the part of the callers.
As a result, CSI Chapala has approved the procurement and installation of a new phone system, costing around US$1,500, and which will be operational over the next few days.
The funds to pay for this system come from the kind donations of the community under the Safety Fund established as a result of the December 7 event at the Hotel Real de Chapala.
Consequently to the phone system installation, there is a commitment from the Chapala Police to have phone operators that will acquire basic English communication skills to be able to speak with the English speaking callers.
  • Hon. Edmund IV DaHinten

    What is “CSI Chapala”?

  • Gypsyruth38

    I applaud what the community is doing to help the police and secure the safety of the community.  I recomment you never put a monetary reward for information.  My first thought as I read all this was I hope it doesn’t turn out like the days of the halocaust where neighbor informed on their neighbor, jeopardizing everyone.  I would hope that with the Chapala community being many, many retirees that this would not be a problem.  However there are also many local native families and children.  Wonderful community.  It sounds like it should work and I’m glad to hear there will be a new telephone system at the police department soon.

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Edmund, CSI stands for “Community Safety Initiative (CSI-Chapala)”.

    Mexican Citizens, Ex Pat Community and Police working together to reduce crime in our area.

    We should have explained this before. 

  • Sid Grosvenor

     Hi Gypsy. Thanks for your input. Sid

  • Hon. Edmund IV DaHinten

    Thank you Sid, and yes, when using acronyms it is better to spell them out at least the first time one uses them. 

    Thanks again for keeping us updated on what’s going on.

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