Neighborhood watch program better than police leadership

As one expat told me in November “the new cops are yesterday’s gang members.”

True or not, the idea of the neighborhood watch might be the best answer for Costa Rica. This can happen without blathering politicians who are, in fact, clueless about crime and how to fight it.

No doubt Costa Rica will cry that jails are expensive projects for a juvenile that kills an adult and can’t get a longer prison term than eight years! This can easily be remedied by using one of the many available islands as a premade jail: just give the boys tents and let them soak up the sunshine like an Arizona sheriff does with his overachievers. Let the tiger sharks serve as low-cost guards.

I still laugh when I think of the two motorcycle cops that pulled our car over in Gringo gulch, and the Costa Rican “Sergeant Friday” and his sidekick asked us if we had drugs or weapons. They didn’t seem interested in our high blood pressure or cholesterol drugs. I really felt cheated. After all, the youngest person in the car was about 57 years of age and all of us were retired cops or feds.

The ideas that will work best to combat crime in Costa Rica will be those ideas that do NOT rely upon the police or the irrelevant court system — or the usual empty words from the “leadership.”

Personally I like the idea of expat communities banding together and buying camera surveillance systems that can cover whole neighborhoods. Then, after Julio and his pals are caught on film, the video gets sent to YouTube so prospective home buyers and tourists can see what is REALLY waiting for them. The real estate firms here in the U.S. just love to use ancient crime statistics to lure naive boomers to a new place where they can get robbed.

Jim Harrison
Charlottesville, Virginia

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