Corrupt Mexican Police / Policía corupta mexicana

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by VenusEnvy, May 28, 2006.

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  1. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    As you all may or may not know, I am interested in traveling to a Spanish speaking country. (You may remember this thread.) I was talking to them tonight about perhaps traveling to Mexico to teach/study/live and they expressed some very ...... strong concerns regarding Mexican police. I'd like to know how much of what they said is true, or just what the media tells them.

    They told me that I should be careful when traveling to Mexico because the government and the police there are corrupt. They kill, rape and rob people. If I were in trouble, they wouldn't give me the time of day. They said to me, "There's a reason why they're all itching to come here! Obviously life there isn't all that great!"

    Hmmmm.... What do you all think? How much of this is true? Is it exaggerated? How trust-worthy are the police in Mexico?


    Como Ustedes ya puedan saber, me interesa viajar a un país hispanoparlantes. (Puede ser que se acuerden este hilo.) Estuve hablando con ellos esta tarde en cuanto a viajar a Mexico para enseñar/estudiar/vivir y me expresaron unas preocupaciones muy ….. fuertes cerca de la policía mexicana. Me interesaría saber cuánto de lo que dieron es verdad, y qué parte es solo lo que les dicen los medios de comunicación.

    ¿Listos?….. Me dijeron que debo tener viajando a porque su govierno y la policía allí son muy coruptos. Le matan, violan sexualmente y roban a la gente. Si me encontraba en problemas, no me harían caso. Me dijeron mis padres, “¿Hay una razón porque toda la gente de allí quieren venir acá! ¡Obviamente, la vida allí no es algo buena!”

    Hmmmm.... ¿Qué opinan Ustedes? ¿Cuánto de eso es verdad? ¿Está exagerado? ¿Son de confianza la policía mexicana?

    (Por favor, corríjanme los errores. :D )
  2. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Hola Venusita,

    I can't speak to the question in broad generalities, but I can pass along what I learned from American/US business colleagues in the DF when I worked with them there. They had been resident in Mexico for at least a year, and in one case for many years.

    Here is what they told me: As far as traffic violations are concerned, or a busted tail light and things like that, the 'mordida' is common. If you are stopped for a speeding violation, for example, you are expected to give a certain amount to the person who stopped you, and then you go on your way. If you are driving a large, new, expensive car, presumably the amount collected is greater than if you are in something small and beat up. I don't know if the "rates" are different for citizens and for foreigners. I was told that this is an accepted cultural-commercial practice, and is expected, as the police are not paid a living wage.
    In the US you pay the fine to a court system, and in Mexico you pay directly to a law enforcement official.

    I've never been stopped for a traffic violation in Mexico, so I have no first-hand experience. I really think you should hear from Mexican citizens before forming an opinion.

    Un abrazo,
  3. KateNicole Senior Member

    Miami, Florida
    English (USA)
    After having lived in Mexico (Guadalajara), it appears to me that the police officers are definitely not as trustworthy as American ones. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that they aren't even paid a liveable wage, but that's a completely different thread . . .
    Anyway, I would just like to say that even if some are not particularly trustworthy or professional, that does not mean that they pose a specific threat to you. Common sense and prudence can take you very far in Mexico. Unless you are wreckless (doubt it) or come from an extremely wealthy family (kidnapping risk), I don't think you should let your reservations about the police force stop you from going to Mexico to live. Plus, you speak Spanish, so it will be harder for anyone to take advantage of you. A lot of areas of Mexico have a high crime rate, but the majority of Mexicans are extremely helpful and noble people. I never felt in danger in Guadalajara, but I never walked around in the city alone after dark, I didn't carry large amounts of cash, I didn't wear flashy jewelry, I didn't use public transportation after around nine or so, I never took a taxi at night and I avoided prolonged contact with strangers in strange places. I was more careful than I am here, but because I was careful, I never felt worried. Good luck!
  4. KateNicole Senior Member

    Miami, Florida
    English (USA)
    Also, I think it might be safer for you to arrange to live with a host family, as opposed to renting an apartment, even if you have a roommate. If you have a host family, they will be able to guide you during your first months and point out to you what areas are dangerous, the safest way to get around, they will be able to help you out with the bus system, and best of all, they will worry about you. If you don't come home (because you are out with your new Mexican boyfriend, not because something happened to you) they will get worried and look for you. They will be able to introduce you to their most likely HUGE extended family, and their friends and their neighbors, and you will develop a network of people that will look out for you and help you develop a sense of what's safe and what's not (because when you first arrive, it may all look dangerout to you). Host family is the way to go!

    Also, I used to be extremely paranoid about safety in Mexcio, so if you want any tips, I could offer your thousands. I got over the paranoia by my second week.
  5. Tino_no Senior Member

    Español mexicano
    Hola, yo vivo en Sinaloa, una de las zonas consideradas como "las más peligrosas de México" por su alto narcotráfico e inseguridad en general, y déjame decirte que no todo eso es cierto. Me atrevo a decir, simplemente, que si llevas una vida normal aquí, sin andar en cosas ilegales y eso, es casi imposible que sufras de esos problemas tan comentados, como robo, asesinato, violación etcétera, sólo recomendaría no andar por barrios muy peligrosos, nada más.
  6. danielfranco

    danielfranco Senior Member

    I was born and raised in Mexico City, and even though I was a teenage hooligan and hardly ever behaved in a civilized matter, I never had any awful experience with the police. Sure, many are corruptible (if you offer them money to avoid a traffic violation, are they corrupt or are they being corrupted? Sorry, never mind the pseudo-philosophy crap of mine...) and I'm sure at least some of them are dangerous criminals, too.
    But the only time I witnessed a despotic abuse of power was the time we threw empty beer bottles at their cruiser while we sped past in a car... I still can't understand what got them so mad that they chased us for a few blocks and made us kneel on the pavement and swing a kick to the head of my friend who was driving...
    But people do say the worst things about them... I just never witnessed any of it, is all.

    Regardless, Mexico is a great country to visit. I say this truthfully and with no irony, I swear.

    THE SPANINGLISH Senior Member

    Somewhere only I know
    México (spanish)
    Hola yo soy de México y a mi no me ha pasado algo asi como violacion, robos o cosas por el estilo, te recomendaria que no vivieras en la cuidad de México. Aunque ahí hay oportunidades de empleo muchos museos, restaurantes en fin mucha variedad turistica y mucha gente pero es muy inseguro. La razón por la que mucha gente se va a los EUA es pq aqui casi no hay empleo, no se van pr la inseguridad. Espero que te desidas por lo mejor
  8. tonyray

    tonyray Senior Member

    English, U.S.A.
    Estoy completamente de acuerdo con Tino. Yo viví y estudié el año pasado en Veracruz y nunca tuve ningún problema con la policía....y yo andaba en la noche después de salir a los antros para fiestas, pachangas, etc. Y unas cuántas veces tuve problemas con los borrachos que andaban en la calle pidiendo cigarros o 10 “varos.” (10 pesos) Pero como ya se ha andes por las calles en la noche. Yo andaba en la noche pero eso no es lo recomendable....bueno, yo soy de Atlanta y pues tal vez la vida me ha curado de espantos, nada más si tienes que caminar las calles en la noche...siempre es mejor andar con seriedad.
    Y si tienes que hablar con un oficial....en México, tienes que usar mucha cortesía porque la cortesía es MUY importante allá en México. El solo hecho de decir gracias, lo siento mucho, perdón, etc. te sacará de muchos apuros.
    Saludos. Espero que esto ayude. En cuanto a la mórdida, una frase común que escuchaba allá era “móchate pa chesco.” (dar dinero para el refresco)
  9. KateNicole Senior Member

    Miami, Florida
    English (USA)
    Everyone's posts here have merit and are useful, but it's important to remember that Venus is a woman, and that while the behavior of daniel and tony may not have caused them any serious problems, it could represent a different danger for a woman.
  10. danielfranco

    danielfranco Senior Member

    Thank you for that caveat, miss Kate. You are absolutely correct. I ought to have said that one still has to keep his head down and be vigilant, and not go out of one's way to look for trouble. Good trip, miss Venus, wherever you decide to go!
  11. Chaska Ñawi

    Chaska Ñawi modus borealis

    an old Ontario farmhouse
    Canadian English
    As a woman, then -

    I never had any problems of any type in Mexico, and I was travelling on my own. When I stayed in one place for a while, I stayed with families.

    In addition to the precautions already described by Kate, when I was travelling by bus I always sat with another woman instead of taking an unoccupied seat. Very frequently families on the bus "adopted" me and integrated me into their own activities.

    The only foreigners I heard of who were affected by police corruption were those who had bought land or a business in Mexico .... and that's a whole different ball game than the one Venus is proposing.
  12. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    As someone who has been pulled over by a police officer for a traffic violation, I can corroborate that many of them expect you to offer them something.

    Officer: Voy a tener que darle una multa.
    Me: No podriamos arreglarlo aqui mismo, para no tener que ir a la delegacion despues? (I may have to go down to the station to pay, so I'm offering to settle the ticket right here and pay the fine directly to the officer).

    I have met several helpful, professional and ethical police officers in Mexico. I also believe that things are getting better every day -- not worse -- with an increased level of accoutability and professionalism in the police departments.

    I don't think that the police should be your biggest worry when visiting Mexico, but if you follow the advice given by Kate and others in this thread and that one, you will be fine.

    Tell your parents I said so. :D
  13. Mariaguadalupe

    Mariaguadalupe Senior Member

    Mexico, Spanish-English
    Hello Venus!

    I'm sorry to have missed your previous thread. I guess I was working and didn't have time to check what was going on in here. Regarding safety and corruption within police ranks, well, you'll find it everywhere. As Fenixpollo says, its something that's being worked on.

    As a parent on the eve of sending my first offspring away to college, I am absolutely positive that I'll worry. I can understand your parents. As everyone else has said, there's no way around it. Just keep in touch with them as often as possible. Technology has made it even less expensive now. Use the web!

    Somebody advised you to stay away from border cities on either side. Well I do take objection to that. I live on a border city in Mexico, and if you carry on with your life in a normal way, there is no problem, even if we have soldiers on patrol aiding the war on drugs. Soldiers can be intimidating to anyone, regardless of nationality. Drug dealers, soldiers, police, carry on with their own business. As long as you abide the law, do as you would in your own hometown, you'll be in no danger. I was going to suggest you lived in the US and travelled into Mexico. But it would not be the same as experiencing México in México.

    The suggestion KateNichol gives you is right on target. Do seek a host family. As a mexican, I know the extended family is included in the deal. There are many wonderful cities you could visit. If I can be of any help, do not hesitate to ask. Above all, keep in touch with your parents always. Let them know what you're doing. As I tell my children, its not so much as to ask for permission for what you want to do, as so that somebody knows where you are.

    Best wishes,

  14. abrahamisc Member

    México D.F.
    Español México D.F.
    Como te lo han dicho, la policia no debe ser algo por lo que te debas preocupar en demasía. Sigue los consejos que te han dado y estarás bien.

    Hasta pronto.:cool:
  15. Mariaguadalupe

    Mariaguadalupe Senior Member

    Mexico, Spanish-English
    Just to add a note on parents' grief on letting children go, my teenage sons are now the propietors of two valid driver's licenses, however, I do not let them cross over to the States by themselves. Why? Because, regretfully they are harassed by some Immigration officers if they drive over by themselves. Do I blame the States, the system, etc? As they say, its a two way street.
  16. Cereth

    Cereth Senior Member

    language of love
    Es agradable que pienses en venir a México, yo como mujer mexicana puedo decirte que en realidad me gustaría que la policía fuera más confiable...sin embargo, yo jamás he tenido algún problema con ellos, pienso que si eres una persona que no se mete con nadie y andas tranquilo no tiene porque pasarte nada, además la policia trata bien a los extranjeros!! yo he podido verlo especialmente en las zonas céntricas de las ciudades más importantes. Yo vivo en Guadalajara y puedo decirte que es una ciudad que recibe muy bien a los extranjeros, y como ya alguien más te lo comentaba, no olvides ser cortés, dar las gracias, decir buenas noches, etc. La cortesía es muy importante para nosotros!
  17. Miguelillo 87

    Miguelillo 87 Senior Member

    Mexico City
    México español
    Eso es muy cierto venus Mira es obvio que si vas a una ciudad grande (México, Guadalajara, Monterrey) pues es más factible que vayas a ser victima de la inseguridad como lo es New York Londres Buenos Aires , Pero creeme que no es nada fuera del otro mundo al menos que com dicen seas rica pues bueno ahó es tra cosa pero creo que es lo kismo en cualquier pa´s ser mas rico que el estandarde la población e speligrosa.

  18. Mariaguadalupe

    Mariaguadalupe Senior Member

    Mexico, Spanish-English
    Miguelillo 87 acierta al decir que "las oportunidades de trabajo y salarios son mejor en los Estados Unidos que aquí". Como comenté en otro hilo, nos cuesta el doble o triple de esfuerzo mantener el mismo nivel de ingreso que hace 15 o 20 años y aun más que lo que percibíamos antes del '82, año en que nuestra economía se vio grandemente afectada. Esa es una de las razones que más impera al momento de irse de México.

    ¡Bienvenida a México!
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