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Police Crack Down on Christmastime Crime

As the Christmas season brings increased shopping and celebrations, the Public Security Ministry and Traffic Police are on the streets to crack down on some of the vices that traditionally accompany these activities, namely drunk driving and theft.

From this week until Jan. 26, 2007, 9,000 police officers in three daily shifts and 18,000 private security officers will join forces for “an efficient combination of state and private resources for the well-being of all Costa Ricans,” according to a statement from the Public Security Ministry.

This year, the ministry has extended its holiday operative to late January to include traditional festivities in Palmares, northwest of San José, and Santa Cruz, in the northwestern Guanacaste province.

The operative’s aim is to protect citizens against theft around the clock in San José and cities including Heredia, north of San José; Cartago, east of San José; Alajuela, northwest of San José; the northwestern Guanacaste city of Liberia; San Carlos, in north-central Costa Rica; and San Isidro and Golfito, in the Southern Zone.

The ministry also urges citizens to avoid being the victims of crimes by not using automatic teller machines alone, carrying only the money necessary for that day’s purchases and using extra caution when carrying shopping bags, the statement said.

Traffic Police are also making special efforts to combat the drunk driving the holidays traditionally bring, said Traffic Police Assistant Director Huanelge Gutiérrez.

“Generally, during the holidays there is a lot of celebration because people are off work and this means a lot more alcohol,” Gutiérrez said.

Although the Traffic Police have no extra officials to deploy during the holidays, officers are being concentrated in “risk zones,” that have historically seen increased deaths during the holidays, including the highways heading from San José to the Pacific port city of Puntarenas and the Caribbean port city of Limón and the road between Orotina, west of San José, and the central Pacific town of Quepos, Gutiérrez said.

The Traffic Police’s holiday operative began this month and will continue through the beginning of January 2007.



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