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Costa Rica Sees Alarming Surge in Vehicle Theft

The Judicial Investigation Organism (OIJ) has reported a surge in vehicle theft cases this year, particularly in San José. According to the judicial police, last year saw the dismantling of three criminal organizations involved in car theft in San José, resulting in the preventive detention of approximately 20 individuals.

In San José alone, between January and March of last year, 230 complaints were registered. In the same period this year, the number has risen to 275 cases, marking a 19% increase.

Joaquin Sanchez, head of the vehicle theft section in San José, highlighted that cars parked on public roads or outside homes are prime targets for criminals. He also pointed out that weekends tend to register more criminal acvtivity.

“We’ve observed a higher frequency of complaints over the weekends, typically between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m.,” mentioned Sanchez. He also explained that the majority of theft incidents occur between 9 p.m. and midnight in the central area of San José and its surroundings.

Last year, from January to March, 230 complaints were recorded. This year, the figure stands at 273 complaints. According to the OIJ, 81% of the reports involve opportunistic theft, with 82% targeting four-wheeled vehicles and 18% motorcycles.

Authorities emphasized the necessity for people to take precautions in light of this unfortunate surge in vehicle theft. The OIJ advises against leaving vehicles on public roads, urges the use of security systems, and recommends not leaving valuables inside vehicles, especially in plain sight.

In the event of a car theft and potential confrontation with a criminal, the OIJ urges people not to resist. “We advise individuals to keep their windows up and doors securely locked while driving. In the unfortunate event of becoming a victim, it’s crucial to avoid resistance. Material possessions are replaceable, but human lives are not,” emphasized the organization.

Officers also stressed the importance of promptly filing reports at the relevant offices to facilitate action in such cases.

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