Officials recognize that many Costa Ricans receive their annual aguinaldo or Christmas bonus, thereby providing attractive targets for thieves.
With the increase use of credit cards there in not as much cash in the streets as in previous years, but thieves are a resourceful bunch who come up with new strategies when needed.
The security ministry came out with 39 suggestions Monday for citizen to avoid criminals. Most are pretty routine: Don’t flash sums of money in a bar. Don’t accept help from strangers. Keep personal financial information to yourself.
The ministry also warned residents about business deals offered by unknown persons.
Some of the suggestions are new this year. The ministry urged residents to keep an eye on glass windows while shopping to spot any possible criminals nearby in the reflection. It also urged residents to report any strangers lurking near their homes.
The ministry and its Fuerza Pública also urged citizens not to resist robbers.
The Fuerza Pública said that there were 3,466 complaints filed with the Judicial Investigating Organization last December.
Juan José Andrade Morales, the director general of the Fuerza Pública, said that national-level athletes and performers have joined a campaign to raise public awareness. They include Gabriela Traña, who runs marathons; Leonardo Chacón, who represented the country at the Olympics in the triathalon; Patrick Pemberton, a soccer star, and two musical groups, Korporación and Grupo Percance.
The presentation of these national figures was accompanied by a visit of a blue Santa, who wore the colors of a police officer.
Police have erected a total of 13 watchtowers at key locations to keep an eye on crowds.