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July 23rd, 2007
There are a number of police organizations here in Costa Rica. All are terribly underfunded and thus badly understaffed.
I think the one police organization that receives the most respect is the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) and when spoken of locally is called the Oh EEE Hota. They are sort of the FBI of Costa Rica, but with more powers and less silly limitations placed on their work.
They are certainly the most selective of all the police agencies and have a rather interesting criteria for accepting new recruits. Of every 100 applicants, only 10 make it. There are extensive psychological and physical tests that each must pass. They are also subject to an extensive background check that includes not only their behavior and records, but their life style and behavior within their own family. Automatically disqualified are those that show any signs of drinking problems, friendships present or past with anyone of ill repute, or any other behavior that shows lack of judgment.
Now couple that with the fact that the OIJ strongly prefers young people between 19-20 years old and you can see why this is a tough route. Hell, I did almost ALL my bad stuff at that age 🙂
OIJ Assistant Director Carlos Morera states it pretty clearly, “We prefer them young, approximately 19 to 20 years, we want them right out of the (high) school because this way we can begin forming (their behavior)”. According to Morera, we sometimes recruit older people, but they just do not have the desire to make police work their vocation. “The problem is that some of them bring (bad) habits from other jobs. We want young boys, without prior job experience and of course, irreproachable conduct”, he said.
Now I am about 100% sure that some of you are saying things like: “How can they ask for ‘young boys’ or maybe how can they specify an age group. Well welcome to Costa Rica. Here, there are no rules as to advertising your needs. I have seen ads like, “Needed, receptionist, female 18-21, beautiful with excellent body”. Different culture. Deal with it.
About crime and enforcment here
People moving here from other countries and of course we who live here are justifiably concerned with crime in Costa Rica. Everyone speaks of the lack of police to prevent or investigate crime in Costa Rica.
What these people often seem to forget is the vast difference in the financial infrastructure. In the US, I had excellent police and fire services. Prompt response times. Ambulances equipped like mini hospitals. I also paid over $8,000 per year in taxes. Here, you pay almost nothing in taxes, so why be surprised that there not the same level of emergency services.
Remember when your daddy said something like, “You get what you pay for?”. Well, he was right.Filed under Costa Rica, Crime in Costa Rica, Expatriate Life, Life in Costa Rica, Living in Costa Rica | Comments (6)