QCOSTARICA – Randall Picado, police director of the Fuerza Publica (National Police), confirmed that San José registered 21 fewer homicides compared to 2019.
According to Picado, in 2019, there were 173 homicides in the province of San José, while in 2020 there were 152. The police chief is in charge of the province, except for the canton of Pérez Zeledón.
“We closed 2020 as the region with the greatest decrease in homicides; 21 fewer homicides as compared to 2019. We were the best region and we are the capital. That is incredible because everything happens in the capital, we are talking about all of San José that included the most violent barrios (areas) such as León XIII, Alajuelita, Pavas, La Carpio, Dos Cercas, Torremolinos, Los Guidos, La Capri, and Los Cuadros,” said Picado.
In addition, there has been a 39% decrease in property crimes. “We had almost 3,600 fewer crimes in San José. The challenge is to maintain these figures for this 2021,″ he added.
According to Picado, the pandemic may have had an influence on the drop in murders; however, the police force counterattacked with operational rethinking.
“There will be people who will say that it was the pandemic; However, you and I are clear witnesses that, since August, the city was as if there was no pandemic, only now with a mask. There are crows and congestion and everything. What happens is that there was an operational rethinking. The pandemic could have had an influence, but we began to read the criminal phenomenon better,” he said.
The police chief also indicated that there was closer coordination with Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ), objectives were worked out jointly, and task forces set up, that included the use of the Grupos de Apoyo Operacional (GAO) – Operational Support Groups, a term used for SWAT teams – to decrease homicides in death zones, such as La Tabla sector in Desamparados.
“In La Tabla, there we obtained the largest arms seizures. There were clashes with criminal structures (gangs) and what we did was have two fixed patrols. We had to do the same in Purral, in Pavas and in other places in San José. That was the strategy. The shootings a d confrontations stopped, as we would leave, they began to confront each other,” he said.
“And burned (figuratively) drug sales. That was the objective of the year, to retake the death zones, as criminal structures are beginning to change, so we have to change. The success of this police operation is to be reading the ‘game’ every day and doing something different,” concluded Picado.