A recent article today that was in “Inside Costa Rica”, a daily news blog, carried an article about the increasing crime in Costa Rica focusing on the tourists. Those who have never set foot outside of the US are easy targets for these criminals. They are unaware of the types of things you should or should not do. Here is a small excerpt from the article:
“”What’s so sad about this article is that the message has been written many times before, published in all of the English as well as Spanish press and yet Costa Rica’s revolving door of setting criminals free just adds up to bigger and better crime.
We who live here are more than casually cautious, especially when around the airport, rental car companies and the freeway corridor connected to lay-over hotels not to mention the downtown streets of San Jose.
But the tourist has not been warned that for years criminals have created new ways and even more efficient ways to steal more things in less time. And almost all, if not all of them, have been arrested over and over only to be set free to try again the next day.””
What prompted this article is that someone made the cardinal sin of leaving their car full of suite cases in a parking lot. I don’t think you would do that in downtown LA, why would you do that in San Jose? I did hear something the other day about you’re not a resident of New York unless you have been robbed at least once!!!
It is true that the judges are just letting people go for some unexplained reason. Some guy was caught with 28 kilos of cocaine and was let free. Another person was caught posing as a house cleaner only to clean out peoples houses. They were let free. What this message sends is no matter how diligent the police work is it does not matter, the judge will just let them free. At some point I am sure that the police will just give up and there will be no law.
One thing that you must put into perspective is that this is a hybrid Napoleonic law form definitely not the same as the USA. Bonaparte remarked that care should be taken to preserve personal freedoms especially when the case was before the Imperial Court: “these courts would have a great strength, they should be prohibited from abusing this situation against weak citizen without connections.” However, remand still was the normal procedure for suspects of severe crimes, such as murder.
So as you can see, the mind set is to keep the criminal free unless they do such a serious crime that requires jail. Justice can be swift, but for the petty crimes there doesn’t appear to be justice. Just one more reason not to live or stay in San Jose for any length of time.
The house we bought has been robbed (or attempted to be robbed) once. The robber was chased by a machete wielding person never to been seen again. Our living room is open to the outdoors and no way to close it in (most people can’t understand why we would have such a place without walls). When we leave the house we lock up every window and door. That’s one reason why we are not taking too much with us, for one we don’t need it and for another I don’t want to attract attention. Our street has many more street lights than the street we lived on in Moscow. It’s quite and hard to just drive up without someone noticing. The other advantage is dog’s sounding the alert. Robbers have been know to poison dogs to gain entry.
Puerto Viejo has it share of petty crimes, I am not saying that it does not. People have been confronted and robbed, but again, if one uses their head and is aware of the surroundings those types of crime can be avoided. It’s no different than any other big city in the USA, if you don’t watch yourself you can find yourself in a position you would rather not be facing.
As a note: An article in “La Nacion” today spoke of the long lines of people waiting to get their permits to carry arms. This is what happens when the police force has no force. People will start defending themselves, it’s only natural. Remember the days back in the 1920 and 1930’s when guns blazed all the time until the laws tighten up. The new president coming in has security high on the list but I would think that would mean that criminals caught should be dealt with and not just set free the next day.