Post one: We just had 2 policemen (actually one policewoman, one man) come to our home in El E... and ask for our cedulas, ages and phone numbers. They said they were taking information on extrajernos here, to build a better relationship with them and to keep a tab on any problems (ok, at least that is what I think they said as we spoke in Spanish). Sounds like an informal census sort of thing... anyone else get a visit?
Post two: I'll go by the police station today and ask the person in charge what kind of programs they are currently working on with the expats. I won't tell them about police asking for phone numbers etc. If they say they are doing nothing at the moment with expats, then I'll tell them people are asking for numbers, etc.
Post three: POLICE INFO-HEADS UP! I went to the police station today to ask IF the police are collecting info from the foreigners and if they are, why. They gave me lots of info, so this will be a long post....so pull up a chair!
They ARE collecting info from foreigners, but they are doing it because they have been asked to do it by the Migration Police. Cotacachi (obviously) has been identified as a place where there are a lot of foreigners. The Migration Police have asked them to make contact with the foreigners here to check their migration status and to check if the foreigners are renting or live in their own houses and to make sure their living situations have been arranged legally. They are going to gated communities because that is where they get the biggest bang for their buck, since that's where larger numbers live.
I asked him how they would contact people like me, someone who lives in a regular neighborhood, instead of a gated community. His response is that they really only need to contact 50%-80% of the foreigners to complete this assignment, so they aren't going to contact every last one of us.
I told him that people have concerns that the people coming to their doors might not be actual police. While I was sitting there he got on his radio and instructed whoever was on the other end that the police need to start showing their ID cards when they are talking with foreigners. One of photos I've posted is a picture of a police ID card along with his cedula. They should show you both cards. Also, to guarantee that the Police ID is real, if you tilt the card and look at the person's photo, you will also see a hologram of the Ecuadorian symbol that's on the Ecuadorian flag.
He also said that all of the police vehicles are either Chevys or Kias. If someone in a Toyota or other type of car tells you they are police....beware!
One of the photos is the insignia that's on all of the police motorcycles and the third photo indicates how a policeperson should be dressed. So.... looking at the ID cards, looking at their vehicle and looking at how they are dressed can give you reassurance that the person you are dealing with is legit. If you have concerns, call 911.
I didn't ask how they would react if someone refused to give them the information they are asking for....but obviously that is always an option.
The gentleman I spoke with stressed with me that many foreigners ARE NOT MAKING SURE THEIR HOUSES ARE SECURE AND ARE ESSENTIALLY INVITING ROBBERS IN!
Some of his concerns are that some foreigners don't put bars on their windows because "they don't look nice". Not smart, folks! Also, they are concerned that many homes are not surrounded by walls that completely encircle the property. Also not smart, folks!
Gated communities are areas where lots of robberies happen and that is because the police can't see what is happening behind the high walls....and the robbers know that. Also, individual houses in gated communities are not surrounded by walls.
So......this is what I found out! I'm only the messenger!
P.S. This thread has many posts, if you want to read them all
go to "Cotacachi Expats" page Facebook