Neighborhood Watch Feels Good but Does Little
According to a recent study, neighborhood watch committees make members feel more secure, and improve neighborhood cooperation and relationships.
But they don’t actually reduce crime. The growth of these committees, which now number roughly 5,000, has been rapid over the last several years, as communities have grappled with a crime wave.
But the study, commissioned by Vice President Laura Chinchilla to evaluate the 10-year-old program, which requires watch groups to be registered with the Public Security Ministry, is skeptical of the program’s impact.
“If we abide by the statistical trends regarding criminal behavior in Costa Rica and especially those that use violence against people or property, the inevitable conclusion is that the neighborhood watch program has had little importance,” states part of the 213-page final report.
“But in general terms, even though the program doesn’t demonstrate a positive impact in decreasing crime, in specific terms, it reduces the feeling of insecurity in neighborhoods.”
National Police Captain Swamy Flores, second in command of the program, disagreed somewhat with the study’s findings.
“There is a decrease in crime in the areas where the committees operate, but what happens is they push the crime to other areas,” he said.
You may be interested
Costa Rica previews new tower at Calderón Guardia HospitalAlejandro Zúñiga - July 9, 2020
Costa Rican authorities on Thursday previewed a new tower at Calderón Guardia Hospital in San José, which could be used…
News briefs: Costa Rica will handle land borders differently than airportsAlejandro Zúñiga - July 9, 2020
The coronavirus crisis has transformed life in Costa Rica, which has enacted measures to protect the capacity of its health…
Costa Rica extends tourist visas until November 18Alejandro Zúñiga - July 8, 2020
Costa Rica's Immigration Administration is offering foreigners extra flexibility as countries continue to restrict travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.…