QCOSTARICA – The sanitary vehicular restrictions has put a damper on the operations of vehicle theft gangs (robaccaros in Spanish), resulting in a considerable reduction in the number of stolen vehicles in recent months.
According to Heiner Cortés, head of the Vehicle Theft Section of the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ), who was also surprised by the effect of prohibiting vehicular circulation at night.
While in January and February thefts exceeded 315 vehicles per month, in April they were 155, that is, a reduction of more than 50%.
The police chief indicated that San José, the province with the most cases, noted a drop from 57 vehicles were stolen in March to 13 in April.
Some groups that operated in the early mornings changed their schedule to daytime, but even so a large reduction is noted as the early morning was the preferred time slot to jack cars and get them quickly to chop shops or warehouses to be “twinned” (“gemeleo” in Spanish).
With the sanitary vehicle restrictions, police checkpoints hampered their operations.
“Now that the restriction on night time slots has been lowered a bit and it is allowed to drive until 10 pm and not until 8 pm like before, the gangs are coming back to life,” said Cortés.
In October there was an increase, as there were 56 thefts in San José and this month, November, 53 so far.