I don’t know about you guys, but I like going out at night. That’s why it seems that the latest suggestion for tourist safety in Xela – that everybody be in bed by 10pm – both sucks and blows. Which is an achievement in itself. Thankfully, the Spanish schools have put a little more thought into the situation and come up with 20 easily implemented, low cost suggestions for making the city a safer place for locals and tourists alike.
They’re not all 100%, but it’s definitely something to think about… a checklist for what the authorities would be doing if they were serious about improving security in the city, if you will…
1 Form a Security Committee comprising representatives of the government, civil society and business sector.
2 The formation of a specifically trained branch of the Tourist Police.
3 Better control over bars and discos and the elimination of After Parties.
4 A depistolization program.
5 Surveillance and registration of vehicles and people circulating after midnight.
6 Control over the pirate taxis.
7 The use of ID cards accredited by INGUAT and the municipalidad by all authorized taxi drivers.
8 More frequent police patrols citywide, and specifically in areas most used by tourists.
9 The formation of police substations throughout the city.
10 A plan to implement more car patrols, along with bicycle police, pedestrian police and stationary police.
11 Recognition of private neighborhood security groups.
12 That first class bus services provide a first class service – not stopping on highways to pick up passengers or overcrowding buses.
13 A weapons search for passengers before boarding first class buses.
14 Creating a webpage related to tourism and tourist safety in Quetzaltenango.
15 Creating a web page for the PNC (National police) where citizens can denounce unlawful police behaviour anonymously, and where the police can post pictures of wanted and dangerous criminals.
16 That the authorities and media work more closely together to ensure that news items are accurate and balanced.
17 That the media become involved in the campaign for better security.
18 Better control over unauthorized Spanish schools.
19 Better control over unauthorized private Spanish teachers.
20 Registration and control of other businesses serving tourists.