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Costa Rica’s public security minister urges gov’t agencies to collaborate more to fight crime

Costa Rican Public Security Minister Gustavo Mata said Friday that institutions such as the Prosecutor’s Office and the Judicial Investigative Police (OIJ) need to work more closely together to combat crime, and that citizens have a key role in reporting criminal activity in their communities.

The minister said in a press conference that police are doing their jobs satisfactorily, because “we have the means [such as police cars and motorcycles] to move to where crimes are being committed.” Authorities are able to map the times, places and days where and when criminal activity takes place, he added.

Mata reported that he met with Chief Public Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría on Thursday to discuss the possibility of police, OIJ and the Prosecutor’s Office working jointly on solving crimes.

“We must be stronger and more direct in our actions. That’s the idea I suggested to the prosecutor, and he said there’s no problem,” he said, adding that they would meet to follow up on the strategy.

Mata said other institutions related to public security and anti-crime activities also needed to work together.

“Wherever I go, I speak directly with local governments,” because “if the local government is willing, and we commit to work jointly – the local government and a province’s institutions – we’re assured of having good results,” he said.

See also: Former Judicial Investigation Police official named Costa Rica’s new public security minister

The minister highlighted the need for citizens to overcome what he described as “lack of motivation” in reporting crimes.

He also praised work by the National Police through its Regional Anti-Drug Program, which involves schools.

“We’ve confiscated notable amounts of drugs that children are somehow bringing to school, for personal use or for distribution inside the schools,” he said. “Principals, teachers have a say in this,” because, “if they don’t tell us what’s happening, we’re not going to know what’s going on in each school.”


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