Over the past several weeks, we have been hearing reports of “increased gang activity” and a shooting in Mountain View. YOU is working in both of these areas right now. The warnings are confusing. Community leaders in Mountain View do not seem concerned and attribute the last shooting to one individual who was “terrorizing” the community. They indicated relief that he was no longer around. Police, however, seem to be relaying a growing wariness of the latest criminal activity in Mountain View. The last few times we were down there, they had a heavy presence and show of weaponry.
I have also heard that people from outside of the community have been hanging out at traffic lights and robbing people who stop for the red light, with a gun. This has not been confirmed, however, until this latest travel warning from the U.S. This is, obviously, not good. Mountain View Road is a major thoroughfare and most people take it to get to the airport.
I am not sure what is going on in Rockfort, a nearby community, as I have not asked YOU’s staff member, who is currently working there, what is going on. I do know that he goes down there regularly and does not seem worried.
In any case, a travel warning from the U.S. is a big deal. I am not sure if it is warranted, however, but the damage is done. It is always difficult to determine what is actually happening on the ground. There are conflicting reports from community leaders, residents, police and international officials. We do know two things, however: safety is paramount and perception is everything.