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100 years of «policletos»

Among the many columns and lesser sections of my favorite national newspaper I enjoy reading the Centenaria column — Notes published one hundred years ago in Mexico City local newspapers.

A couple of decades ago, we started having policletos on the streets — “Policías bicicletos”. Cops on bikes. I don’t know if we had policletos as a continuous presence before that, but I do remember it being somewhat controversial in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Anyway, this snippet (and sadly I cannot capture the 1910 writing style in English) was a joy to read:

January 18, 1910 Good results of using bicycles for surveillance As we have come to know, the service the first-class policemen are doing on bike, mainly during night time, has yielded great results, as the street policemen often fell asleep and woke up upon hearing a horse approaching, which does not happen anymore because the first-class policemen make much quicker rounds, and before the street policemen even think of it, their superior is standing in front of them. It also seems that robberies, so frequent during the nights, have ceased because the burglars, hastily breaking the locks, are caught by the bike-riding policemen, given the machines barely make any noise, and besides, they cannot run away because they are chased with no effort.</blockquote>