Hopefully, it never happens. But what if it does? Here is what you should do if you are a victim of a crime in Mexico.
First, let’s take a look at what constitutes a crime in Mexico. The term “crimes against the person” refers to a broad array of criminal offenses that usually involve bodily harm, the threat of bodily harm or other actions committed against the will of an individual. The Mexican Constitution and the International Court of Justice, as well as the Human Rights Commission, render the same rights as Mexican citizens to expats and other foreigners who live legally in Mexico.
Those crimes involving bodily harm (or the threat) include assault, battery and domestic violence. Additionally, offenses such as harassment, kidnapping, and stalking also are considered crimes against the person.
Whether you’re a traveler to Mexico or live here as an expat, your life generally is worry-free and safe. But, like anywhere else in the world, you could become a victim of a crime in Mexico, and that is something you are never ready to deal with.
If you are a victim of crime, the first thing to do is call the local police and the Municipality’s crime office, the Ministerio Publico. They provide this general assistance:
- Communicate with your consulate to issue a replacement of travel or residency documents if you’ve had them stolen.
- Provide information about transferring money in to a Mexican bank.
- Provide help and counseling if you have become a victim of rape or any other serious assault.
- Contact your family members or friends if you have trouble doing so yourself.
- Offer you basic information about the local customs, laws, police and legal-aid system.
- Provide contact details for local lawyers, doctors, interpreters and funeral directors.
- Offer support in a range of other cases, such as someone missing or death of a companion or relative under suspicious circumstances.
Here are actions you can take for some of the more common crimes expats could experience in Mexico:
Make a list of all stolen items and immediately go to the local police and Ministerio Publico. Insist on filing a report because it’s the key document for any insurance or compensation claim. Let them know if you know the person who robbed you. If it’s your maid or a domestic worker, provide the police with their full name, address and copy of their ID. If they have stolen credit cards, cancel them. If they have stolen checks, notify your bank immediately.
Contact your nearest consulate or embassy. Tell the local police about the assault and insist on a report. If you’ve been sexually assaulted, talk to someone and do not keep the attack to yourself. Contact the Ministerio Publico and the Red Cross, which provides professional assistance. The local translator and/or attorney may come to the police department with you and help you go through all the necessary procedures.
If someone invades your home, immediately call the local police. Make an inventory of the items that were taken, provide the police with a description of the perpetrators, make a report at the police department and then call your insurance company.
Always call the police and a local attorney to help you with any of the crimes I have discussed. If you do not understand Spanish, ask for a translator. The Ministerio Publico has the obligation to provide one. If you have been injured, call your hospital and an ambulance service.