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January 31st, 2009
In the United States, shooting, assaulting and of course killing a police officer is a huge deal. The police simply do not rest until the perpetrator has been caught, and they are non too gentle in the process. This is as it should be because when something like that happens, it is not simply an assault on that officer, it is an assault on all police officers and more important, it is an assault on society.
Whether or not you are a supporter of the police, the one unassailable fact is that they represent just about the only line between you and a very nasty group of people who pay little attention to the law. A complete lack of respect for law enforcement is a harbinger of anarchy.
When I arrived in Costa Rica, I rarely read or heard about violent attacks of any kind. There were some home invasions, but never if the home was occupied. Street crime was limited to pickpockets or street punks (chapulines) seldom armed with anything other than a knife and tough talk. Few or no gangs. Typical city crime. Outside the cities, the crime rate was negligible.
Crime has changed here in Costa Rica. Now the street punks have guns just like in the USA. Assaults are more common. Home invasions occur whether the home is occupied or not. Costa Rica is reacting, hiring more police and if anything, I seem to have noticed a drop or at least a leveling off crimes here.
What has me troubled, though, is the ever increasing attacks on the police themselves… and worse, how the bad guys are seemingly getting away with it. Just three days ago, a young (23 I think) police officer was shotgunned while making a check of a home. He survived… losing a lung. Another officer is in the same hospital after having been shot in the face.
I do not know any police officers here nor any agents of the OIJ, so I have no access to the hot skinny, but I am concerned that there is no news followup of the progress and activities and what they are doing to catch (avenge!) these shootings. This could be just crummy reporting or perhaps the culture is different and the harming of a police officer simply is not a priority. I am hoping for the former!
My point is, the police and the government simply must make crimes against law enforcement a priority… even above crime to the populace. If they are not doing this, I believe the results will be disastrous for Costa Rica.Filed under Costa Rica, Crime in Costa Rica, Life in Costa Rica, Living in Costa Rica, Opinion, Rants | Comments (17)