First, the "Gringo" thanks you for your letter of concern and support.
Like you, I too am very concerned about the rise in local crime but I do not live in fear. Like many developing communities around the world, Dumaguete City is losing its old sweet small town flavor and developing into a metropolis. As the good things grow, unfortunately the bad things grow also. Most of the crime does not seem random but has very specific targets and causes. The average law abiding citizen is not in a lot danger, especially if they use a little caution.
I honestly think the local police are doing everything within their power to stop crime. The problem is more complex than just the actions of the police. We as a community must join and support them in the difficult task of law enforcement. Police can arrest the criminal but without our testimony they can not convict him. Often witnesses are intimidated or bought off and the criminal is again free to hurt others. I know of one incident where a son was murdered and the murderer bought his freedom. Later that same murderer killed his victims' brother. That second family would still have a father if the murderer had been convicted as justice demands. It must be horrendously difficult for the police to see a known criminal walk away without punishment and know it is just a matter of time before he hurts others. That knowledge is what creates vigilantes.
I do not condone vigilantes. Vigilantes are an anthema to a civilized community, but I understand the pressures that give them birth. Vigilantes are an indication that the justice system is not working. If you want to stop vigilante murders; the first step is convicting the criminals.
Ms. Downs, you are not guaranteed safety anywhere in this world, but I would feel comfortable in saying there are many places much more dangerous to live than Dumaguete City. Many of those places are found right there in Texas. With you and other concerned citizens willing to stand up and demand justice maybe we can bring safety and some of that sweet old fashioned charm back to our historic city. We look forward to having you re-join us here in paradise.