About two years ago more or less…
I was sitting in a Starbucks in Mexico City…
Right in front of the Angel of Independence Statue.
Just chilling by myself texting some friends on Whatsapp…
And one of those friends was a chick named Angie who often hooked up with me from time to time..
To going out for a few beers and just hanging out in general..
Well, one afternoon as we are texting each other over Whatsapp…
I see something outside Starbucks..
Some random homeless looking dude walking by taking some shit from somebody’s back pocket without them knowing..
A short looking guy anyway – maybe 5’5 or 5’6 in height, brown, very skinny wearing a jacket and some black pants.
Anyway, he saw an opportunity and took what he could.
Before walking on..
Now I saw that and thought to myself “maybe I should say something.”
I literally got up on my feet and looked straight at the guy as he was walking down the street towards the direction of where Angel of Independence Statue was.
And for a second, I thought to myself “maybe I could tell the security guard of the Starbucks and he could notify police.”
And I took a step towards and the door and then thought “nah, fuck it. Nothing will change.”
Because, in that quick second, I thought…
First, it ain’t my issue. Not my money stolen.
Second, even if I did tell someone, what the fuck would happen?
Would the police actually identify the guy right away and get him?
Or do jack shit?
And, in hindsight, looking at this situation now, I also question if the police wouldn’t just harass me for money like a bribe.
Which isn’t likely to be honest but could happen – I don’t trust these fuckers anymore after I got harassed for a bribe by a Mexican cop once as you can read here.
So fuck it – I ain’t doing shit.
Better to not get involved in shit in case getting involved would put you in a bad situation.
Which could also mean fucking with someone who is armed or is connected with some gang or whatever.
Though, in this situation, I doubt homeless dude would have any buddies that would fuck with me for fucking with him but that is something to consider I think just in general.
But the last two issues – the police bribe issue and the armed threat issue – were not things I actually thought of in that moment.
My main reasoning for not actually standing up for the dude who lost his wallet was “shit ain’t going to change anyway.”
The police, being as incompetent as they are, just are not likely to fix the issue.
So why get involved?
Granted, I could have told the guy who lost his wallet but maybe then Mr. Homeless Guy would have just ran away faster than they could catch him.
Again, not my issue.
Either way, I sit back down to enjoy my black cold tea…
And I got some messages from Angie (in Spanish)…
“Hey, why are you ignoring my texts?”
She asked if we should go to a bar if I remember right for that same night.
I responded by telling her the story I mentioned above – that I saw a dude stealing some wallet from a stranger.
And how my mindset went to “fuck it, nothing will change anyway. The police just don’t do anything down here.”
Then she had a good laugh about it – “that’s exactly how Mexicans think!” she laughed on about..
Now, keep in mind, she wasn’t trying to shit on Mexicans because she hates them or something.
Granted, there are self-hating Mexicans but she is one herself from Veracruz and not really someone who hates Mexico.
But just saw it that way – that is the mentality, in her opinion, of the folks down here.
“Don’t get involved because shit isn’t going to change anyway. You won’t fix anything by helping.”
But is she right?
But it’s not just an issue in Mexico City….
An Airport in Dominican Republic
When I arrived to the Dominican Republic in the city of Santo Domingo some years ago…
I found a card left in an ATM machine at the airport that wasn’t mine.
Right away, I thought I should report it!
So I took the card and gave it to whoever I identified as being responsible for finding the owner or whoever could.
Right away, I got harassed by the folks – “you didn’t steal anything from this card, did you?!?”
I guess, in their minds, they couldn’t believe that someone would be a good citizen and try to help out someone else without being a scumbag.
Maybe they were used to enough scumbags down in the DR who would have taken some money…
Anyway, they held me up for like 30 minutes over some questioning and let me go when they determined I didn’t steal shit.
“Give Me Your Laptop!”
Another day I am walking around in Posadas, Argentina…
All by myself after getting some work done for a project that I was working on…
When basically this random dude tried to steal the laptop bag I had around my shoulder with the laptop in it.
A very skinny, short dude who tried grabbing the bag and taking it from me.
He never got it anyway and pissed off.
I thought about telling the police about it.
Anyway, I had a local Argentina woman I was working with named Naria if I remember right.
She simply told me “forget about it. The police aren’t going to do anything.”
And we left it at that.
“They Stole My Necklace!”
Similarly, there was an American woman I remember who was walking around a market in Cochabamba, Bolivia years ago…
She was walking around one of the more popular markets in the city…
When, by her own words, some random Bolivian dude literally grabbed the necklace around her neck and RIPPED it from her neck!
Before running away….
Police didn’t do anything…
I could go on and on…
The truth is that Angie does have a point here.
Which is that you could have reported what happened to that dude near Starbucks in Mexico City…
And while the police do occasionally catch the criminal from time to time…
More often than not, they are incompetent and don’t do shit.
And in other cases, they are corrupt.
Over time, like myself, you might eventually get that same mentality that many of the locals have themselves…
“Nothing is going to change. If I stand up to say something, shit isn’t going to improve anyway. Don’t even get involved.”
And in some specific situations, like said before, saying something could put you in danger if you fuck with the wrong person but probably not but who knows.
Also, in line with this article here…
Perhaps could be a reason for why things can sometimes be so fucked up here.
Which is that given the lack of accountability held to criminals…
And how inefficient everything is and the lower standards the locals have…
That ultimately things don’t improve as fast as they should.
Just a theory anyway.
Regardless, if you have any comments yourself about this, drop a comment below.
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Great article. I’ve noticed the same apathy from Latinos in response to crime.
In Peru the police won’t investigate theft of items worth less than $1,000, it’s official policy. However, I did witness police and civilians work together to catch a thief in a market so I think they do care about crime, they just lack the resources to investigate every act of theft.
More worrying is the apathy people show towards serious crime. Latin America has some of the highest rates of domestic and sexual abuse and many crimes go unreported because women often think it is pointless. I had to work really hard to convince a friend who had been assaulted to report it to the police.
Hopefully this will change in the future.