QCOSTARICA – In the first 44 days of 2021, the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública (MSP) – Ministry of Public Security – reports a 62% decrease in assaults, thefts, and robberies in the central area of San José.
For example, pedestrian assaults fell from 255 between January 1 and February 13 of last year to 102 in the same period this year (153 cases less).
In the Hospital district, 65 fewer cases were registered; in Merced, there were 62 less; in Catedral, 70; and in El Carmen, 51.
Rándall Picado, director of the Fuerza Publica (National Police) in San José, assured that the downward trend is due to the comprehensive and planned work carried out by authorities.
However, other police chiefs say that the restrictions on the movement of vehicles and people implemented by the pandemic also have a lot to do with it.
A statement from the MSP reveals that in the entire province of San José there was a 44% drop in property crimes (975 fewer cases).
Among them, assaults was one of the ones that reduced the most. On the other hand, there was also a drop (306 fewer incidents) in reports of theft of property due to carelessness or without violence.
In the entire province of San José, the places with the greatest decrease in property crimes are San Sebastián and Escazú with 58%.
Since the end of last year, the JOrganismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) – Judicial Police – detected a general downward trend in property crimes.
In fact, in general, complaints closed 2020 with a 23% reduction, going from more than 100,000 complaints in 2019 to around 80,000 last year.
For Wálter Espinoza, director of the OIJ, the pandemic had a direct impact on crimes against property, saying that the emergency forced to set restrictions on movement, implement work from home, and reduced visits to malls, recreational and tourist areas, among others.
“The offender realized that they no longer had the facility to commit traditional crimes, which are those that involve some contact or some encounter and that generally affected bystanders,” he said.
For his part, Marcelo Solano, director of the San José Municipal Police, affirms that the views of the OIJ and the Fuerza Publica do not contradict each other, but rather combine.
Solano estimated that the pandemic caused fewer crimes because fewer people circulate through the central area but, also thanks to the work been done by inter-police.
“The hundreds of closures of game rooms, the sustained regulation in the agglomeration points of drug dealers and traffickers, the intervention to disarm street dwellers with weapons with which they can intimidate,” have been, in Solano’s opinion, of great impact.
He added the installation of security cameras in more parts of the capital city and their respective monitoring service also contributed to lower crime.