COSTA RICA NEWS – Many in Costa Rica are relying more on the social application (app) “WhatsApp” to report and issue warnings of crimes in their community.

For those not familiar with WhatsApp, it is a cross-platform instant messaging subscription service for smartphones that uses the internet for communication.

Deputy police chief of San Isidro de Heredia, Giovanni Méndez, meet s with community leaders, who sue WhatsApp to issue alerts. | Photo: JORGE NAVARRO
Deputy police chief of San Isidro de Heredia, Giovanni Méndez, meet s with community leaders, who sue WhatsApp to issue alerts. | Photo: JORGE NAVARRO

The need to protect themselves against crime has led residents and businesses in many communities across the country to discover that this tool could be a powerful weapon. In partnership with the Fuerza Publica, WhatsApp has become an information channel on security matters.

WhatsApp also allows the sending of photos. Using the app, people can instantly share with their contacts and the local police photos of suspicious individuals and/or vehicles in their community.

“Two women are scamming with counterfeits. Yesterday they were … Be on the alert”, can be a simple message.

Users say that results have been very positive, and using real time knowledge police can act quickly.

An example is that of the police action in Abangares (Guanacaste) when users notified police of a woman who had stolen documents of a local doctor, and using the ID went around soliciting donations from local merchants to “help out a patient in hospital”.

“She went to the local bank to obtain the doctor’s ATM card PIN. When she was in the bank, we were alerted on WhatsApp and were able to arrest her”, said Elder Monge, Abangares police chief.

Source: La Nacion