The Mexican city of Guadalajara has been dealing with the problem of how to effectively fight crime. With dwindling resources, crime statistics steadily inching higher, and police precincts pushed to the point of internal collapse, something had to give. What wound up giving was what is considered a crime — specifically public sex acts. Guadalajara is, and traditionally has been, a bastion of conservative beliefs with a strong religious history, which makes this move quite shocking to many of the city’s residents.
As reported by NBC, Article 14 of the Bylaws of Good Government has been amended to read that having sexual relations in public places will no longer be considered a crime unless a third party lodges a complaint against it. Public places will include, but are not limited to, vacant lots, inside vehicles, and private locations within public view. Also included in this is acts of exhibitionism of a sexual nature.
If a complaint is lodged with the police regarding any of the above discussed acts, police will respond, but they will not charge the “offending” parties with a crime, but an administrative offense instead. An administrative offense is the least of charges that police can levy, and may result in a small processing fine if anything, depending on the discretion of the officer handling the call.
Sex in public is now legal in Guadalajara, Mexico https://t.co/J3xjh4mNfI
— WNCT (@wnct9) August 21, 2018
What this has to do with combating crime is that it will free up resources to go after what are traditionally considered more criminal acts. Given the way the law was previously written, and Guadalajara’s conservative nature, police and courts were spending an inordinate amount of time and resources on crimes related to public sexual relations reports. Not all citizens see this as a positive change.
Many citizens are banding together levying claims that allowing sex in public places is going to make it easier for rapists and pedophiles to abuse people. Most people responding to those allegations cite them as ludicrous, pointing out that if anything looks to be non-consensual or threatening, those who have common sense would intervene to make sure everything is okay or call the police.
— Mexico News Daily (@mexicond) August 17, 2018
The policy also addresses the allegation that the old law specifically targeted people of low income who possibly could not afford hotel rooms or lived in a dwelling with many family members or children present where having sex would be inappropriate. While less discussed, it would also prevent an alleged problem of police extorting people caught having sex in publicly visible spaces according to Newsweek. Mexican lawmakers point out that Vondelpark in Amsterdam has allowed sex within the park for over a decade with no problems reported that were serious enough to end the practice.