Police Release Burglary Codigos: Have You Seen Symbols on Your House?
On December 2013, the president of the State Judicial Council, Marco Celis Quintal , stated that burglary is an offense that causes significant psychological impact to the victim, “since the individuals are affected within their vital and intimate space that is their home.”
In 2013, the Ministry of Public Security captured two young men who for weeks had burglarized and burned a number of homes in Caucel, on the west side of Merida. Their modus operandi was designed to eliminate evidence such as fingerprints and DNA traces, and also to make the victims believe their goods had been destroyed in the fire, when in fact they had been stolen.
Those arrested were William de Jesús Sansores Xool age 19 and José Cruz Ku Sansores age 18, although it is presumed by the Ministry of Public Security that there were many more people involved in this wave of burglaries and arson.
Last month police arrested a gang of Colombians who had been burglarizing houses for months all over the Yucatan Peninsula, as well as in other parts of the country. The gang was disbanded in a combined operation by The Secretary of Public Security (SSP) of Yucatan and the Campeche State Police. These criminals had been operating in Yucatán and Quintana Roo, and they were specialists in stealing safes from houses. They committed eight robberies in Mérida and three in Cancún before being finally apprehended.
More recently, a man was arrested while he was burglarizing a property in the neighborhood of Montes de Ame, in the North of Merida. A neighbor and a pizza delivery man alerted the local police, and asked them to investigate suspicious activity in a house where the owners were supposed to be on vacation.
According to reports from the authorities, these gangs are well organized. One group of gang members walks around the neighborhood, watching for any movement and looking for potential victims. These “scouts” then tag the properties with the appropriate symbols, informing the actual burglars of the conditions inside the property. Scouts usually have a legitimate reason for being in the neighborhood, such as delivering flyers door to door. Thus informed, the burglars can enter the property in relative safety.
Currently we have information from different police departments in Mexico that bands like the ones mentioned above are operating throughout the country, through simple graphic codes that makes the job easier for them.
For example, something as simple as a cross or a piece of string tied to the fence or gate can be a signal indicating that the inhabitants are on vacation or out working, etc.
These signs can be found on walls, doors, lamp posts or public telephone booths nearby, alerting other gang members. If you see these types of drawings on or near your home, we recommend you take a picture before erasing them, and let your neighbors and the local police know about them.
Here is a guide to some of the most used codes and their meanings: