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‘Safe December’ initiative will increase police presence in Costa Rica as new year approaches

Costa Rican authorities on Wednesday launched a “Safe December” initiative that will increase police presence throughout the national territory this month.

Under the directive of President Carlos Alvarado and the leaders of the Public Security Ministry (MSP) and the Environment Ministry (MINAE), the plan calls for a “comprehensive strategy” to combat crime.

Here are some of the changes you can expect to see this month, according to Casa Presidencial:

  • Additional National Police will be dispatched to reinforce city centers.
  • The Coast Guard will use “all of its human resources and equipment” on both coasts during the busy holiday travel season.
  • The Air Surveillance Service will conduct patrols in areas expected to receive a large number of tourists. The agency, which also conducts ambulance flights, is receiving a new airplane this week.
  • Migration police will increase their presence at Costa Rica’s borders with Nicaragua and Panama.
  • Transit police will increase efforts to combat drunk driving and other traffic violations.
  • The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) and MINAE will conduct operations to fight illegal hunting, extraction and trade of wildlife.

The Costa Rican government also reviewed and updated the National Emergency Commission’s disaster-response plans, replenished supplies at firefighter stations, and will increase staffing at the 9-1-1 emergency line.

“People can have the certainty that they will always have the protection of the institutions responsible for ensuring their safety,” President Alvarado said.

The “Safe December” plan could help ensure a safer year for Costa Rica in 2019 than in 2018. Costa Rica closed 2018 with 586 homicides and has registered just over 500 so far in 2019, according to the latest data from Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).

In addition, Costa Rica has registered more than 350 road deaths this year, including at least five U.S. tourists since late October.

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