COSTA RICA NEWS – The traditional independence day celebrations were somewhat different for this 193rd anniversary. Nestled in between the beating of the drums and parades of children was the presence of police, invited by unwanted circumstances.
Juan Carlos Arias, regional director of the Fuerza Publica (police) said that police officials were on hand at in various communities, safeguarding the parades, in order to prevent violence.
Of particular attention by police were two areas of Desamparados, on the south side of San José, the most densely populated area of the Greater Metropolitan Area and home to numerous criminal gangs and recent murders related to “settlement of scores” .
In less than a month, gangs in Calle Fallas and Torremolinos, are associated with the murder of two brothers on August 5, two others murdered four days later, the finding of a lifeless body on the street on the 17th and yet another murder on the 19th.
Around the Calle Fallas school for safety reasons there were a police presence at every corner, on foot and on motorcycles. Taking part in the police presence was the Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea (Air Surveillance Unit) with three helicopters.
The concern, according to Arias, was the breakout of a fight or shootout.
“We had officers in all schools in San José, there was also constant monitoring of others. For this reason there were no reports of violence,” said Arias.