Sunday, May 11, 2008

066 Is a Joke

It's not unusual for there to be annoyingly loud music here on a Sunday morning at 4:30AM, generally a hymn of praise for Jesus Christ, his mom, or some Barbie-doll representation of one of the many lesser Virgins about town. This morning, though, the music had more of a rave/electronica feel than usual. Finally, around 5:30, when it became apparent that this racket was not going to die down any time soon, we got up, took a walk, and located the source of the noise: a dozen or so drunk, obnoxious, ostentatiously wealthy young guys from Mexico City (juniors they're called, unaffectionately) who had set up a pair of DJ-sized speakers in the doorway of a nearby house, turned the volume up to about 11, and were drinking, dancing and - God only knows why - hollering at the tops of their lungs in the street.

Because we're not complete fucking idiots, we opted not to start a fight with them, and instead came home and, for the first time not only in Mexico but in our entire adult lives, called the cops. Or tried to.

The first call to 066 (that's Mexican for "911") went smoothly, with the operator taking down the details in the extremely polite manner of Mexican officialdom (¿Con quien tengo gusto? - "And to whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?" - she asked as she was taking our names.) In the end, she promised to "make a report," which we took to be her formal way of saying she'll get someone right on it.

No, apparently it just meant that she would make a report. After almost half an hour with no response - and, understand, there is absolutely nothing else that the Querétaro Police could be doing at 6:00AM on a Sunday - and during which time the party had progressed to the "drunken fighting in the street" phase, we called back and made another complaint. Again, we were promised that a report would be made.

"Yes, but will the police come?"

"Well, the only thing the officers can do is ask them to turn down the music," she explained. It was not really clear to us why the cops should be constrained in this way - what if these guys turned out to have a house full of child prostitutes? - but since all we'd wanted was for the music to be turned down, we told her that this would be considered a result most satisfactory. (That florid formality thing is kind of contagious.)

Of course, she was speaking hypothetically, since no police ever arrived to ask anyone to do anything. We called back yet again, and she referred us to another number - we got a bit lost in the conversation, but this new number appeared to be the number you call if you actually want something done, whereas 066 was simply for the making of reports. So we called and found myself on the phone with the Juzgada Civica in Desarrollo San Pablo, a neighborhood about five miles away. The very nice woman on the phone assured mus that action would be taken, as long as we called back Mon-Fri between 8AM and 4PM.

"We imagine the party will have quieted down by then," we said, though we weren't entirely convinced this was true. She explained that we were not talking to the police, per se, but the office with which one files administrative complaints. If we were to call back during proper business hours, a report would be made immediately.

By now - 7:30AM, the problem had more or less resolved itself, since the juniors have a prodigious appetite for alcohol but very, very little tolerance for it, and had presumably passed out after the CD ended. We'll take a nap this afternoon and all will be well again, but we still can't help wondering who you're supposed to call around here if a knife-wielding rapist is coming through the window.


Anonymous said...

I'm guessing you would have to go your local Ministerio Público and file a denuncia. Or ask if there is a phone number where you can reach the local police detachment directly. In our neighbourhood (semi-rural outer reaches of the DF) those are the modus operandi. Only the first has any possibilities, though, as the phone number doesn't get answered.

A year or so ago our neighbours on the street collectively got upset over the rash of rateros that had set up business on the street corner and were picking people off as they left for work in the pre-dawn dark. The neighbours actually mobilized to get a sub-chief of police for our zone to come and meet with our little group and he gave us his cell phone number.

Burro Hall said...

Sure, and for a long-term problem like you're describing, I can understand it, but now maybe this is just my New York impatience talking, but when it's 4:30 in the morning, house music is cranking through a concert-quality PA system and there's a bunch of drunk guys brawling in the street, I'd really like to feel the presence of the law tout de fucking suite, as opposed to filing a denuncia later in the week during government business hours. I'd rather thought that was the purpose of 066.

Anonymous said...

Damn cops! is a little problem it didn't involve shooting anybody, just to shut up the "chilango juniors"

And to think that cops ruined my parties at college when it wasn't even 11:00pm

Anonymous said...

The Querétaro emergency services may not work round the clock - the coroners office certainly doesn't. A robber was shot dead by police last year at 2 in the morning and the guy was still there next day at 9 when the coroners place eventually comes on shift (my nephew found the body outside his house!). In your particular situation it would have been more practical to visit your nearest 24-hour pharmacy and buy some ear-plugs.