San José traffic congestion. Photo Archives
San José traffic congestion. Photo Archives


The traffic bottlenecks on the main streets of San José have become the perfect allies of the “quiebravidrios”, criminals who use the smash and grab method of attack against defenceless drivers stuck in traffic.

A few years back, areas like the Hatillo 8 became a well known spot for this type of attack, hitting a peak point three years ago. Through the efforts of the Fuerza Pública (police), the attacks curbed.

But, they are back. And in more locations.

Juan Carlos Arias, regional deputy director of the Fuerza Pública in San José, explains that there is a resurgence of the “quiebravidrios”.

The traffic chaos that is now in many areas of the Greater Metropolitan Area of San José (GAM in Spanish), like the Circunvalación, are perfect conditions for the smash and grab gangs.

Alajuelita, Los Anonos (Escazú), La Uruca, Curridabat, and the Ruta 32 are just a few of the areas that has seen a growth in the “quiebravidrios”.

Arias told in an interview that some gangs move from area to area, moving in vehicles spotting traffic situations that are ideal for their brand of criminality.

Some of the organized group will act for a short period of time in one area, moving on to another quickly, making it difficult for police to react and prevent.

Arias recommends not to have anything of value – purse, electronics like a smartphone, etc – on the passenger seat or in plain sight, raising the attention of the “quiebravidrios”, who act in an instant, smashing the window, grabbing and fleeing. The driver, stuck in traffic, has now way of reacting. Not even calling for help if the cellular phone was grabbed.


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