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Q COSTA RICA – Due to the constant growth in public insecurity, the Ministerio de Seguridad Publica (MSP), Costa Rica’s main police authority, plans to attack crime in 2017 from different fronts.

Besides applying the most common resource, a major police presence on the streets, the MSP is looking to innovate. And for that it is looking outside the country’s borders, in particular the Colombian city of Bogota.  See our report Costa Rica To Fast-Track Training Of New Police Recruits

The plan is to apply the digital platform called Análisis integral de Conciencia y Seguridad Ciudadana (AISEC) – IntegralAanalysis of Citizen Awareness and Security – that has been used in Colombia’s major city for the past two decades.

The AISEC is a strategic tool that allows collecting, prioritizing and targeting information related to social risks, institutional capacities and crimes that occur in the territory. In other words, it provides authorities a glimpse of what is going on in a particular community, in relation to the other communities and work a concrete plan of action to reduce insecrity.

The MSP says, at first, the tool will be applied in 12 cantons of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) of San Jose: Desamparados, Curridabat, Montes de Oca (San Pedro), Moravia, Santa Ana, Mora, Escazú, Tibás, San José, La Unión, Alajuela and Belén. Communities identified by the MSP as “hot zones”.

To achieve the intended results, the MSP has signed agreements with the each of the municipalities.

María Fullmen, deputy minister of Seguridad, explained that, last year alone, the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) received 1,862 complaints in Desamparados for various crimes, including homicide, robbery and break ins. And those are only the reported cases.

The MSP says it expected to include in the AISEC the remaining 69 cantons, that is to say, apply the tool on a nationwide basis.

According to Fullmen, information gathering and consultations will include local community representatives, small store owners and restaurant operators, and if in tourist areas, hotels and tourism operators, among others.

The deputy minister caveats with, “the prevention issues are not that today they are applied and tomorrow we have results. It’s a slow process, but it’s always going forward.”

Fullmen added that the information will also be shared with other state entities such as the Child Welfare Agency (PANI) and the Women’s Institute (INAMU), for example.

“The ides is to identify the problems, find the responsible (for committing the crime) and look to solutions,” Fullmen added.

Gilbert Jimenez, mayor of Desamparados (the canton and not the city), the most densely populated area in the GAM, said the tool will be very useful.

“It will not only give us an X-ray, but will allow us to establish comprehensive strategic management that will allow us to resolve security issues (…) we cannot allow that our city be taken over by the mafias (organized crime), the unscrupulous and people who do not come here to contribute to social good,” said Jimenez.

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