QCOSTARICA – This is holiday time in Costa Rica, a time when many leave their homes in the city seeking sun and fun in the beaches, mountains and resorts. But this is also time for antisocial to take advantage of homes left alone.
It is for this reason that the Theft and Robbery Section (Sección de Robos y Hurtos, in Spanish) of Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) recommends prevention from becoming a victim and another statistic.
Some examples of prevention include not leaving your garage door open while loading up the vehicle for the trip ahead, and look around the area before leaving the garage or driveway; cancel your newspapers and have someone you trust pick up the zillion flyers in front of your house or mailbox; leave the garbage in your house or take it with you, don’t leave it at the curb for days – a sure sign you are away from home.
Use alarms, security cameras and razor wire as part of a safety program.
Most robberies and thefts are random and opportunistic. Thieves are looking for an easy and quick way in and out, make your house anti-target (if such a word exists); make it difficult and your house will probably be passed by.
Other tips include, community organization, neighbours getting together, knowing who is away and who is not. Cancel the newspaper, if you get home delivery. Pay someone you trust to pick up the tons of flyers that accumulate at your mailbox or doorstep.
If you decide to stay home, here are important tips to make this time of year (any time of year really) safe:
- First peek out your window to see who is at the door; don’t be so quick to open. A typical trick is someone asking for directions, insisting your house is the right place, forcing you to open or come out to the gate.
- Keep an eye on suspicious vehicles and/or people. Seeing a slow moving car with two or more young males driving by your area is cause of concern. Sometimes one or two young men will follow the vehicle closely, ready to strike and the vehicle as the getaway.
- Always, always, always check three times before opening your garage door or gate. Look outside first, scan up and down the street. This also applies when you are getting home, don’t open the garage or gate from down the block and certainly not if something suspicious catches your eye – like someone following you (from the bank, for example), a strange parked car, a couple of guys hanging around, etc.
- Leave on lights, television, stereo, etc. while you are out, giving the illusion that someone is home.
- Don’t be predictable, that is follow a set pattern of leaving and coming home, a routine – taking the same route every day.
- Dogs can be a great deterrent.
- Have the number of the local police handy. In my neighbourhood, the guard has a private line to the local police, many guards have the same as police of late have taken a more proactive role in community policing.
Use the comments section below, post to our Facebook page or send an email with any other suggestions to share.
Lets make this season a safe one!