Monday, April 16, 2012

Ecuador: Police Arrest 22 Robbery Suspects Operating at Traffic Signals

As a matter of interest, Judicial Police in Guayaquil arrested 22 suspects last week who had been committing armed robberies at traffic signals in the coastal city.

Although this criminal tactic is not commonplace in most developed nations, it is a frequent occurrence at intersections throughout Latin America, Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

These crimes were not the work of sole practitioner, but rather an organized criminal enterprise whereby the group financed street vendors who would then use a whistle system to alert confederates at other intersection as to which motorists to target based upon the surveillance of the interiors of vehicles.

This cursory, but effective notification system also was used to alert perpetrators to the presence of uniformed police.

COMMENT: Fortunately, with the cooperation of citizens who had been victimized, the task force was able to videotape and record the operation, resulting in a high probability of conviction.

For our readers who are familiar with Guayaquil, the focus area of the operation was centered in the vicinity of
Ayacucho and Benalcazar Noguchi. The suspects will all be prosecuted under Ecuadorian conspiracy statutes.

Travelers and tourists visiting developing countries, particularly those riding in motor vehicles, are urged to be particularly cautious at traffic intersections where peddlers are known to ply their wares or offer to wash windows of vehicles.

When encountered, contact with such persons should be avoided by keeping auto windows up and doors locked. Additionally, purses, tote-bags, backpacks and briefcases should be kept out of sight, as some criminals will break auto windows with hammers and forcibly steal valuables.

In some countries, it is a common tactic for "spotters" to be used at one busy intersection, who identify a prospect vehicle by placing a bright piece of chewing gum on the exterior of the vehicle near the driver in anticipation that a criminal at the next intersection will consummate the crime.

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