‘At first it was quiet here, but now people don’t come because of the crime’: disorder and insecurity attack the San Roque neighborhood | Ecuador | News

‘At first it was quiet here, but now people don’t come because of the crime’: disorder and insecurity attack the San Roque neighborhood | Ecuador | News
‘At first it was quiet here, but now people don’t come because of the crime’: disorder and insecurity attack the San Roque neighborhood | Ecuador | News

The San Roque neighborhood, located in the historic center of Quito, faces serious problems of disorder and insecurity. The lack of control by the authorities and the agglomeration of vendors in the streets are factors that contribute to this situation, affecting both residents and visitors.

Marco, a merchant from San Roque, said that one of the main problems is the occupation of sidewalks and streets by street vendors. “There are shops that sell outside on the street and everything is in disarray,” he said.

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This situation not only obstructs the passage of pedestrians and vehicles, but also creates an environment conducive to theft.

“There are times when cars pass by and they even run over them because they have nowhere to walk. A fair day is fatal, here nobody can pass because they even get robbed,” he added.

According to the citizen, there is a constant need for control, as he assured that there is no help from the municipal authorities in establishing order.

Bolívar, who works as a security guard on one of the streets with stalls, described the insecurity in the area. Although he mentioned that the rate of robberies has decreased slightly, the technique of “ranchar” (snatching) is still common.

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“Now what they do is that they stick together and push people around, that is, the group of people, without them realizing it,” he explained.

His job, which he does from early in the morning until midday, involves being constantly on the alert to prevent these robberies. Sometimes he has had to use a plastic baton, his only companion in the fight against insecurity.

Vicente Tipán, president of the 17 de Noviembre Association, highlighted the efforts that vendors’ associations have made to improve security and cleanliness in San Roque.

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“We have security guards here. Our associations are understood from here on up. So, we organize ourselves on the streets to provide better customer service,” he said.

However, he acknowledged that the perception of insecurity has affected the flow of customers. “Here we give them very convenient prices, there are products from 25 cents to a dollar, whatever they ask for,” he added.

Pilar, a saleswoman with almost 40 years in San Roque, shared her story of daily struggle. “At first it was quiet here, but now people don’t come because of the crime,” she said.

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She needs to keep working to support her family, including her daughter who is in college. “We have to get our daily bread from here. We get up early between one and two in the morning to buy from the owners and go out to sell to customers here on the sidewalks until late,” she said.

The Metropolitan Control Agency (AMC), the municipal entity in charge of public order and legal sales, reported that they are working on an intervention plan in all markets in Quito.

QUITO.- View of Cumandá Street, in the San Roque neighborhood, in the historic center of Quito. Photo: Alfredo Cardenas.

However, in San Roque they have encountered significant resistance. There they had tried to establish an operation to create order, but they were unsuccessful because they were intimidated by several of the merchants in the area.

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The interventions, carried out in conjunction with the National Police, have been temporarily successful, but problems tend to re-emerge once the authorities withdraw.

The traditional neighborhood of San Roque, known for its market that offers basic necessities, fresh food at distributor prices, furniture and prepared foods, faces a complex challenge of disorder and insecurity that affects the quality of life of its residents and the perception of the area by visitors.

Despite these limitations, it is normal to see dozens of people buying products for their homes or businesses, in a neighborhood that is struggling to stay afloat in the midst of adversity. (I)

 
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