In reading the several comments about crime and punishment today, 11 February, all of the letters reverberate an old and ongoing problem. It seems that crimes against individuals, whether citizens or tourists, continues and for the most part those responsible receive light sentences. In reading the comments by Robert Nahrgang S., I initially think that chopping off the finger of the perpetrators is a bit excessive, yet, I also recall conversations I had with residents of Singapore and Malaysia.
Until their respective governments took a strong stance about dealing with these very same problems, everyone in places, tourists and citizens alike, lived in fear of becoming victims of the increasing numbers of crimes. Then, those governments introduced caning as a deterrent. Almost instantaneously, the number of crimes dropped dramatically. Even those who took a chance on not being caught, found themselves the recipient of six strikes of the cane, changed their ways when the were told the second offense would find them getting twenty strikes of the cane.
Americans reacted with horror when Michael Fay was sentenced to six strokes of the cane in 1994, in Singapore. Due to intervention by President Clinton, the number of stokes was reduced to four, and, from what I was told, those four strokes were not administered as intensely as they could have been. Our society condemns such punishment, but, it appears to have worked in those nations where it is implemented.
So, either the government of Costa Rica must simply acknowledge this is a country where crimes will go unpunished, or, with very light punishment, at best, or, realize that radical reform is necessary and take strong and effective action, immediately.