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  1. Moderator Note: This topic originally was part of a topic related to a conversation with the new Boquete Police Captain Roberto Espinoza. (See http://www.chiriqui.life/topic/4775-getting-to-know-boquete-police-captain-roberto-espinoza/.) While related to that breakfast conversation with Captain Espinoza, it has taken on a specific theme, that of the reporting of crimes and the results from such reporting. The management of CL has concluded that this spinoff should be separated as its own topic. I hate to be the cynic here, but my experience with crime reporting has inspired no confidence in the Panamanian system of justice. A couple of years ago my next door neighbors were burgled at midday, while having gone to town for lunch. They returned in an hour and fifteen minutes to find an iPad, e-reader, jewelry, and camera missing. (A side door had been left unlocked, each having thought the other locked it.) Their big black dog was unharmed but clearly stressed. They both were relatively new residents at the time so, as a neighbor and as a U.S. warden, I offered to help with the reporting of the crime, as residents have been encouraged to do. A call to Rodny had sent the Police to the scene, but they conducted no investigation. They told my neighbor, over his fence, to report the crime at the Police station. I went there with him and, after a long delay, we were sent to the Personaria. I had put together in writing (Spanish) what had happened as it was simple and straightforward. Personnel at the Personaria were not interested in it, however. They said we would have to file a denuncia with one of their "agents" (for lack of a more precise term) and that we would need a translator from DIJ in David to do that. A phone call was made, and finally another appointment was made for a couple of days later to fit the translator's schedule. All of this took a good bit of time. That scheduled meeting was cancelled, however, when the translator couldn't make it after all, so there was another wasted trip downtown. About a week after the burglary, we finally met with the translator (who was very nice and very accommodating) and the employee/agent at the Personaria (who was dour and somewhat intimidating). My neighbor answered questions, many of which bore little or no relevance to the burglary, for over an hour even though this was a very simple matter with a limited number of viable suspects: i.e., someone who could see that they were leaving and who knew that the dog was harmless. Then, to top it off, the agent said the neighbor's wife also would have to come in an give a statement--again requiring the scheduling of a meeting with a translator-- even though, of course, she was with her husband the entire time and her testimony was exactly the same as her husband's. Moreover, there was ample opportunity ahead of time to notice us that she would be needed. After all this time and inconvenience, the neighbors never heard from the authorities again. So much for "work[ing] with and coordinat[ing] followup reports with the Personaria." This was as inefficient and non-productive a procedure as I have ever seen. It almost seems to designed to ensure that petty crimes will NOT be reported.
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