Cotacachi Crime

by | Nov 22, 2008 | Archives

Cotacachi crime appears to be rising.

Let’s put some perspective on this and see why a friendly village like Cotacachi might have increased crime.

I love the dawn….the perspective it brings in its glowing magnificence. The sun always shines. We get another day. So I always try to live in places where I can see the sun rise. There is no better time to reflect…be grateful for the abundance we get from just living…and to prepare for whatever adventure the day may bring. Here is the sunrise from my North Carolina office.


Of course our apartment on the beach doesn’t have an eastern view. The sunsets compensate for this. Here is a shot we see almost daily when at Vistazul.


Whatever…sunrise…sunset. These are the universal daily statements about reality, abundance and the cycles of life.

So after watching this daybreak from my North Carolina office this morning, I was ready to grab life and the day at its fullest.

Reality check! Our hound and I discovered as we headed to the mail box…


that it was cold! 11 degrees F.

I was getting a sunburn last week in Ecuador last week and now am fighting frost bite!

When the leaves of the rhododendron along the creek curl…one knows that it is just plan freezing cold.


We are heading back as soon as we can where we can enjoy warm, sunny Cotacachi sunrises instead.

These are the sunrise views we see from our apartment in Cotacachi Ecuador. There is no crime in this!

Looking south past the Cathedral.


Looking east over Mt. Imbaura.


Every morning Merri and I take a sunrise stroll though the village beginning here.


We love it. The people are so friendly….


and happy.


We stop on our morning strolls and chat with everyone from the street cleaners who clean up after the frequent festivals….to the Mayor the Priests and the Nuns if they happen to pass by.

Cotacachians are earnest,..






and colorful.


All of these scenes were taken in the streets of Cotacachi and we feel safe here. Even the children walk freely early morning and in the dark of night.


Now this confidence has been blemished by Cotacachi crime.

I am keeping this in perspective….but Steve just sent me this note.

Gary, There was a robbery at a farm in an outlying area that is owned by one of our readers. This was a pretty chastening experience for another reader who is renting there. About 10.45pm yesterday he was in his bedroom. His window crashed and four men smashed climbed in. Three more came through the kitchen. One of those three had a pistol and one had a knife. Seeing resistance was futile Shawn let go his club. The dogs outside didn’t bark and were probably drugged.

The renter was tied by wrists and legs and had a curtain thrown over him. The robbers, all masked except one, ransacked the house. They seemed to think he would have a large amount of money there and kept asking for that. He had a knife point put to his throat on various occasions. They took the fridge, freezer, cooker, clothes, shoes, laptop, two cameras, two cell phones, other electrical items, and found $500 cash he had hidden away.

Finally they left except three. Those three conversed with the renter asking him about his family. Told him not to go to police or they would kill him. Told him he should have company on the farm (that’s rich coming from robbers). Finally they untied him. He came to El Meson, shook up by the death threats. We asked some village elders for advice and were told to go to the Fiscalia and police.

We went together and were there for most of the morning. While there the fiscal agent commented that foreigners were being targeted and it could well be the same bandits. I asked about a robbery at a resort in adjoining area where apparently the owner lost $40,000.

I looked at the lists of reported crimes in a lined page book – many crimes since last April – 180 to be precise and many robberies. 2 or 3 cadavers, one murder yesterday (inside an indigenous community).

I am told that quite a few foreigners in town are afraid of what’s happening in the USA and are coming to Cotacachi with large amounts of cash (life savings) and gold ingots. This can create crime in Cotacachi.

I agree with the village elders that it is really the mayor’s duty to obtain more police etc. Two builders nearby at San Miguel are considering putting in private roads with guard(s) in a kiosk(s) to patrol against possible intruders.

We have put in a call to the vice mayor as well.

Mayor Auki has decided to run again and according to close sources he proposes running on a ‘control crime ‘ ticket and will implement many anti crime measures in his 4th term should he be re-elected. Steve”

I hate to see crime like this near Cotacachi….but let’s look at the overall picture.

Crime will grow everywhere in these tougher economic times.

Here in North Carolina we used to always leave all seven of our doors unlocked…even when we left for months at a time.

About this time last year, three of our neighbors, who ran a thriving Christmas tree farm and were known to keep large amounts of cash in their safe at home, were murdered.

In January 2008 a man was indicted on three counts of capital murder for the shooting deaths of our neighbors. Police say the three were shot at their residence when the indicted man was attempting to steal the safe from their garage.

We now lock our doors here in North Carolina, even during the day.

Now we will also take added precautions in Cotacachi to protect against crime there.

Our hotel is pretty safe at night…huge wooden doors are closed and we have a night watchman. We are adding a night time armed guard for a while to make this statement…”its dangerous to be a criminal at our hotel”.

Plus we will stick, on our walks, to the village. These Cotacachi crimes mentioned above took place outside the village of Cotacachi. This current robbery and the other mentioned, occurred in outlying areas that we know to be more dangerous. We warn our readers about going or buying there.

Ecuadorians are by nature not violent people.  Even so a recent Overseas Security Advisory Organization report says:

“Police reports show that in more and more cases, criminals are using some sort of weapon in the commission of their crime.”

Yet like in the US where victims can lose their lives, the report adds:

“Fortunately in the majority of these cases, the weapon is used for intimidation purposes only, with the result being that cooperative victims are seldom injured. Gratuitous violence is generally rare throughout the country, but is becoming more common in the larger cities, especially in Guayaquil.”

This reader who was robbed acted correctly…did not resist and ended up with a talking…not being shot like here in North Carolina.

One huge benefit in using our Ecuador Living service is that we are not brokers or travel agents. We are not trying to earn commissions by selling real estate or locations. For our modest subscription you get our honest opinion based on 40 years of international business and 13 years residence in Ecuador. We have an active Ecuador business and have personally purchased a 962 acre hacienda, condos in the mountains, a house, a hotel plus condos and apartments on the beach. Our Ecuador Living service shares our continual research and experiences in global business, living and investing in Ecuador. You gain access to our extensive contacts plus you get to share the input from over 15,000 subscribers who continually let us know what they see hear and experience good and bad.

Learn more at Ecuador Living.

We warn our readers about areas that we consider less safe, but if you do not subscribe, be sure to check if the area is friendly or not before you buy real estate there.

I hate to see crime in sweet Cotacachi. I hate to see it up here in friendly Ashe County North Carolina…especially when the rich are targeted.

Merri and I stick out in Cotacachi but we stick out here in the Blue Ridge as well. Yet we are used to being in the minority. We have learned how to blend in.

See more on this at The Benefits of Trading a Rolls Royce for a Beat Up 87 Ford.

For example when we built our modern seminar hall out here in the North Carolina wild…anyone passing by…who did not know…would see a familiar scene…an old Blue Ridge barn. We even used a special aging substance on the exterior to make it look old. Here is our Blue Ridge seminar hall…new but purposely looking old.


We have learned to look, as much as we can, like the locals…wherever we are.

For example our seminar delegate accommodations at our farm entrance are made to look like an old barn as well. Here is that apartment.


The rest of our delegate accommodations look old (and cold right now) from the outside…though some are brand new. Here are some more of our cabins.


I suspect that when those who are not our neighbors drive by and see dozens of cars parked in our meadow they think “rooster fight”…not …”a seminar on international investing”.

When I lived in Hong Kong…I was never going to be mistaken for an oriental. Yet I learn what areas and districts to avoid and how to avoid looking like a tourist. Instead I dressed and acted like a British businessman. Hong Kong was a colony then. That worked. Ditto for my decade in London.

Even though Americans of European decent look more English than Chinese, the robbers can spot tourists anywhere! London is the only place I was ever robbed…and just down the street from my home! See The Gift is in the Giving. A Gift from a Thief.

Economic downturns create crime in Cotacachi and everywhere. Disparity between the rich and the poor create crime. Be prepared.

Cotacachi is still a great place as far as I am concerned but Cotacachi crime may be growing with the larger Western population. I would be remiss not to say so.

Wherever you go, Cotacachi or anywhere take the following advice.

Remain alert! Be aware of your surroundings.

Vary your routines. Predictability makes you a more likely target.

Lock up your home, car and office.

Make your home a tough target. Use security systems.

Stay informed. Learn about crime trends in your area and stay away from dangerous areas. The crimes in Cotacachi just mentioned took place in outlying, isolated country areas.

Get Involved. Crime can be reduced with action.

Until next message may your partners never be crime.


Join us at a course in Cotacachi or on Ecuador’s coast this winter.

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Feb. 9-11 Beyond Logic-Shamanic Mingo

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ

Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition

March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 26 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009.

The course fee includes meeting at Quito airport (day before the course)…transportation (by group bus) to Cotacachi and back to Quito. Course fee does not include air are. accommodations, food or individual transportation.