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Theft victim posts survey to get word out on crime in Costa Rica

July 4, 2008

It was just another day in Costa Rica: Someone had been burglarized.

But this time, the victim, a U.S. citizen and recent arrival here decided he wanted to do something after having his camera stolen from him last month in Sabana Norte in western San José.

Steve Harrington, owner of a management consulting firm in the United States, decided to conduct a survey to get English-speaking foreigners to detail just how bad they believe the crime problem has become.

“I don´t have an axe to grind,” he said. “I just know when I talked to people about how I got hit, there was this huge uproar and rumor mill about all the crimes going on here. I can´t tell if it´s safe to go to the park at night. Who knows? There´s a whole lot of noise and not a lot of facts.”

Harrington, who specializes in data analysis, said his goal is to get the survey formalized by the end of this month with the help of testers. He wants to then leave the survey online for several months to collect data and then give the information away to those interested.

“I want to create a final report and then give away the methodology to use again,” he said.

Questions can be answered anonymously and include sections on crimes committed against participants and what measures communities are taking to defend themselves.

People interested in helping Harrington flesh out his survey can participate at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Dc_2f0joZjdUgjymAhrQOu
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. He can also be reached at stevehar11201@gmail.com.

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