As soon as I found out that my laptop was stolen, I wanted to report the crime with the Dominican Republic Tourist Police known domestically as Politur Dominicana. Because looking up Politur in Santo Domingo proved excessively difficult, I eventually reported the theft to the Policia Nacional which is the national police of the Dominican Republic used primarily for investigation of crime not involving tourists. Unfortunately Policia Nacional officers don’t speak any foreign languages so communication is difficult and while they are pretty much useless and will make you feel that they are filing a report, but nothing will get done on your case, they are actually much better than Politur. If Policia Nacional seems completely useless and uninterested in investigating any crimes, Politur is even bigger a joke. Politur is there to show intentions of the Dominican government to ensure safety for all travellers, but when it comes to it, Politur will do even less than Policia Nacional would.
I reported my laptop theft to the Policia Nacional because I was unable to find the office of Politur Dominicana and everyone I’d asked for help was useless and unable to offer any assistance in the regard. But after I was done, I still wanted to bring it up with Politur thinking that they might be more interested in investigating the crime because I was a tourist and that’s what they are – a Tourist police. Politur officers are also supposed to speak at least one foreign language each so I thought I might be able to explain the theft in more detail, detail Policia Nacional never cared about hearing, such as the description of the suspect or where I picked her up and dropped her off.
When I got my first chance to go on the internet at the internet cafe, I looked up the Politur website and contacted them via their contact form with al relevant details, including my case’s file number so they can look me up with the National Police. They have never even bothered to respond back. Not even as much as just acknowledging that they have received my email and will be processing it. Not even as much as telling me that I can go eff myself cause they are too busy cruising their motorcycles. Simply nothing – they have likely just deleted my email to never be bothered with again.
Uselessness of Politur Dominicana was later confirmed by a person from the Canadian embassy in the Dominican Republic. Upon my return back to Canada, I found out that serial number I have provided Policia Nacional with was not actual serial number of my stolen laptop, but its item number, which is a whole different thing. This is the number that appeared on the invoice from Future Shop where I had purchased the laptop and it was the only number I had. I thought it was the serial number, but for some reason Future Shop doesn’t put serial numbers of their receipts, but rather irrelevant item numbers. I still had the box my laptop came in so after I’d returned home, I checked out the box to verify the serial number, only to find out that number on the receipt is not it.
I really didn’t think Dominican police will do anything about my case, but I still wanted to make sure they had correct serial number on file. Sometimes when larger operations are pulled – such as busts of drug houses – various articles are seized which oftentimes include stolen items. If during such unrelated bust my laptop was recovered, they would not have it registered as stolen because my file shows different serial number on it, not one matching the unit. Hence even though seemingly pointless, I still wanted to make sure Policia Nacional had my correct serial number on file.
But how would I go about having it changed? Politur is useless. They don’t act on any emails sent to them so that would be the waste of time. Policia Nacional are too busy sleeping to be bothered. So the only way to get it updated seemed by getting Canadian ambassador call them and get them to do it. Embassy people are paid from taxes of us, regular Canadians. It is their duty and their purpose to assist all Canadians who need assistance in that given country. So when I emailed Canadian Embassy in the Dominican Republic, I was happy to have received a response the following day letting me know that the captain with whom I filed my report was contacted and updated my file with correct serial number. It’s always a smart thing to do to contact the embassy of your country in the foreign land if you get in trouble there. That’s precisely why they are there, paid by dollars of tax payers.
In my case, Mr. Yanik Beauregard who’s Senior Consular Officer in the Office of the Embassy of Canada in Punta Cana showed me that he’s worth his money and took immediate and appropriate action to assist the citizen he represents and contacted me back in timely manner to inform me that my request has been completed and that the file has been updated as per my instructions. His response included the following:
I have contacted the Department of Crimes and Investigations of Policia Nacional and spoke personally with Capitan Dipre, who wrote your report. He informed me that they are still investigating your case and will inform us as soon as they have new developments. I also provided him with the proper serial number of the laptop (ZBBX93ES700101), as requested below.
For your information, the Embassy of Canada does not perform investigations in foreign countries. This has to be done by the local authorities. We do liaise with them and collaborate and exchange information in order to help Canadian Citizens. You have done the right thing by reporting the theft to the local police (Policia Nacional).
Great job, Canadian Embassy in the Dominican Republic and thank you for swift and useful actions. But let me get back to useless Politur – don’t assume for one second that just because Politur are meant to be there for you the tourist, that they will actually be there for you. Politur is useless.