South American Crime Prevention Advice

South American Crime Prevention Advice

South American Crime Prevention Advice 620 465 Greg Ellifritz

Everything you need to know about keeping safe comes down to recognizing toads and papaya.


I was reminded of this fact when I read the article linked below.  Check it out.  The woman’s partner won a lawsuit settlement.  He posted some pictures of the cash settlement on social media.  Some bad dudes saw the money and decided to rob him.  Three people broke into the man’s house, killed his female partner and stole all the money.

Woman shot dead after money flaunted on social media


What does that have to do with toads and papaya?


I spend a lot of time in South America.  Each country down there has its own cute or funny sayings.  They are called dichos in Spanish.  These dichos are usually witty statements that offer life advice.  I’ve grown fond of learning some of the dichos from the countries I visit.


In Peru there is a saying; “Hay sapos.”  Literally it means “There are toads.”


The “toads” my Peruvian friends are talking about are people who silently observe your activity and provide that information to others.  There are always “toads” watching your every move.


Peruvians use “hay sapos” as a caution to people handling money in public.  There are always “toads” watching for easy victims.  You may not see the sapos, but rest assured that they will be present.  Exercise caution.  The toads may not rob you, but they will certainly provide your information to someone who will for a little bit of cash.


If the guy in the link above had recognized that there are always “toads” watching, he probably wouldn’t have carelessly flashed his wad of money on social media.


A second pertinent dicho comes from Colombia.


The locals there have a descriptive term for people who do things which make it easy for a criminal to victimize them. Colombians call it “dar papaya.”


The term literally means “to give papaya.” In other words, you are so vulnerable it’s like giving the criminal a sweet treat. It’s the Colombian equivalent of the term “like taking candy from a baby.”  You are making it exceptionally easy for a criminal to target you when you “dar papaya.”


That’s what the guy did when he flashed his money.  The sapos saw his post and informed the robbers.  The robbers thought he was an easy target.  He gave them some papaya.  They took it and ran.



The next time you post on social media, think about the toads.  Don’t give them any papaya.