7 February 2020 Newsletter

In This Issue:

US Voter Assistance Workshop Tuesday February 11
Security Update
Who Reads Beach Area News?

US Voter Assistance Workshop

All US citizens are invited to a Voter Assistance Workshop hosted by the US Consulate General Merida. This town hall meeting will be held Tuesday, February 11 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon at the Teatro Daniel Ayala, Calle 60 #499 between Calles 59 and 61 in central Mérida.

The agenda includes:

How to vote from abroad
General voting information
Question & Answer period

NO RSVP is needed!
For more information Email AskMeridaACS@state.gov or call 999-316-7168 (from a Mexico phone) or (844) 528-6611 (from a US phone).

Security Update
This information is current as of Feb. 7, 2020

Since our January 20 newsletter, there has been an increase in police patrols throughout the Progreso area. Perhaps because of this, in addition to an increased awareness and security precautions by residents and visitors, we are aware of only one new break-in and no new purse-snatching events in Progreso. There was a report of police officers proactively questioning men loading TV sets into a car in front of a house and arresting them because they were, in fact, stealing them; this is a good example of heightened prevention activity by the police.

However, Beach Area News has received increased reports of break-ins along the beach road area of Chuburna, and we have brought these to the attention of the Comandante of the Municipal Police and Progreso City authorities. We are also hearing very positive reports that people are taking the time to report break-ins or other crimes to the Fiscalia and that the new system of visiting the Municipal Police first to ask for translation assistance appears to be working.

We cannot state enough times that prevention is the best strategy to keep you and your home safe. Make sure there are protectores (bars) on your windows and keep your windows and doors locked at night or when you are in your back yard. Walk with as few valuables as possible. If you see someone suspicious in your neighborhood, call 911. The police would rather prevent a crime then deal with one after the fact. For more information on security, be sure to review our security leaflet, available here on our website.

In the social media posts, there has been a lot of conversation about self-defense–what to do if someone is in your home to rob you or is threatening violence. We have been researching self-defense laws in Mexico, and as with many things here, it’s complicated. The information below is a summary of conversations and emails with several area attorneys and police officials.

Current law in Mexico says: self-defense response must be in proportion to the actual threat you are experiencing at the moment. This means if you use a weapon against someone who has broken into your home but is not threatening you physically and does not have a weapon, and you injure this person, you may be legally liable.

As we have tried to get clarity on what this really means, the only answer we repeatedly get is this: pepper spray (or gel), to deter someone from approaching you, is allowable, both in your home and on the streets, whether someone has a weapon or not. Any other type of weapon used in self-defense in a situation where the “bad guy” does not have a weapon may put you at legal risk.

If the attacker does have a weapon other than a firearm, then you have the right to defend yourself with a similar style of weapon–but not with a gun. If you use a gun–especially without having the appropriate permit to legally own that weapon in Mexico–on someone who is not armed, things could get very complicated for you. We have not heard any reports of robbers using guns in home break-ins around our area.

We are not lawyers, and we are not providing legal advice here. We are sharing the best information we have received in hopes that it will provide some more guidance to visitors and residents in our area. If you wish to get more information about how you can legally defend yourself, we suggest you contact your own attorney in Mexico.

Pepper Spray Sources:

Proveedor Militar (uniform store), Prolongacion Paseo Montejo 109, Buenavista, 97127 Mérida Google map
Amazon.com.mx click here for search
Mercado Libre click here for search

(More sources suggested by residents:)

AutoZone stores

Sports shop upstairs at Gran Plaza

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Enjoy the rest of the winter!
The Beach Area News Team
Bob Rentz, Speranza Avram, Karen Cloutier, David Nevers, Dave Bloch