There are no accurate ways to estimate the cost of crime to Costa Rican society. When a crook rips up a few dollars worth of copper wire and darkens an entire neighborhood, the true cost is much greater than the repair bill.
And how does one estimate the value of a mother or a brother or a son cut down by robbers seeking a $30 cell telephone or a bike or a pair of sneakers?
Any serious survey would also have to consider the investments in burglar alarms, guards and those ubiquitous portones and rejas that make a home a cage.
Any serious survey would have to ask James Bishop about the 30-foot boat crooks towed away from a dock in Limón harbor early Wednesday.
Bishop, who maintains the Limón office of Industrial Maintenance Divers, said his company’s open boat, the La María, is worth about $30,000, in part because of the two 150-horsepower outboard engines that were attached.
Bishop said that between 3 and 6 a.m. thieves came
alongside, cut the ropes and paddled off with the Fiberglas vessel. He has posted a reward and suspects the boat will get a dark paint job and be used to haul drugs. He said there was little cooperation from the local police of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacosta. The company pays to keep the boat in the harbor supposedly for security.
Any serious survey would have to ask two young Desamparados merchants the value of their investment that was the target of armed robbers last week. The incident could have been much worse.
The young couple had just opened their store to sell clothing and fashion items that they had imported from Panamá. Within a week, burglars cut the locks and gained access. The burglars were less successful the second time because the roof had been reinforced and more bars were put up.
But there was no defense from the men and women who came with guns and held a pistol against the head of a family member’s infant and then dumped the child on the sidewalk as they left.
No one was injured physically, but women in Desamparados will have to go elsewhere to get clothing from now on.