All types of police need to handle any crimes

In response to your article on Tips for Crime Reduction.

1. Cross train and allow ALL public police agencies to write traffic tickets and enforce ALL the laws. While there is a need for a specialized Investigation unit for rape, murder, drugs, etc. Municipal Police, Fuerza Pública, Transit Police, GAO, etc, should all be allowed and expected to enforce ANY violation they see with regards to traffic. The increased revenue from the traffic citations alone would outfit ALL the police with better weapons and equipment.

2. Every piece of property has a FOLIO number, cross reference it with the TAX database, Collect the unpaid taxes. No need to raise taxes and create more ways to evade paying. Enforce and collect existing taxes that are owed.

3. After talking with several of my local police, some have the mentality that it is futile and disheartening to arrest someone, only to have them released before they finish their paperwork. Why risk your life for little pay and no sense of accomplishment. Punishment needs to be enforced, as well as the existing laws. Additionally the system of fingerprints is antiquated and some criminals have 20 different names all under the same set of finger prints. The problem is worse for youngsters as they are not required to carry ID, and often lie to the police. Increasing the funding available for better computer systems would allow better record keeping. Someone arrested 12 times likely has a few other records in other locations under other names.

4. There needs to be better self-protection laws. Currently there is no “Make my day law”, and even wounding or killing someone in self-defense is a crap shoot on how you will be dealt with. The courts even favor the criminals, if you injure them as they attempt to steal your belongs. Victims and criminals are supposed to have 100 percent equal rights (which is one of the things I love about Costa Rica). However the judicial system seems to favor the criminals most of the time.

5. Security guards and police need to be legally protected better when they need to use their weapon. Most security guards I’ve employed and spoken to, are scared to use their weapon in the line of duty due to the legal issues.

How many times is it reported that security guards are robbed? It’s rarely reported a security guard has fired their weapon to protect what they were hired to. They are ineffective for a reason, and it is by design. Using lethal force to protect one’s self or belongings and taking the so called “precious” life is against the law. When a criminal takes a “precious” life, the judicial system seems to devalue the life taken.

Crime will continue to flourish until the RISK (meaning punishment) versus REWARD starts to favor the RISK side of the equation. People only follow laws when breaking them has consequences. We speed and talk on cell phones when no transit police are around. The same applies to REAL criminals that steal, rape, murder and maim.

On a side note, many lives are needlessly lost due to many citizens not having any training in BASIC first aid. Many of the car accident/gunshot/stabbing victims could be easily saved by the first person to encounter them if they just knew or followed BASIC first aid. Do your part and go take a BASIC First Aid training class.

Craig Salmond
San José

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