Police begin the annual Christmas holidays show of force

The first wave of some 14,000 police officers took to the streets Monday in the security ministry’s effort to keep the holidays safe.

The Fuerza Pública will be highly visible until Jan. 5.

The police will be using metal towers to keep an eye on the crowds. Some have been up all year. They also have more than 100 vehicles patrolling the streets, said officials.

In Alajuela there is a special program to beef up patrols at local banks.

The blue-uniformed Fuerza Pública has as a priority the prevention of crime. For years the police agency flooded the streets with officers during the holiday season. This year there  are two classes from the police academy that will be on patrol.

To support the street police, the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública has eight mobile command posts that will be placed in strategic locations.

These are mainly large vans with communication gear and other police necessities.

Officials also promise that the police will be monitoring residential areas, too. This is a time when many Costa Ricans go on vacation and their homes are targets of burglars.

Police also are confronting major activities and large crowds. One is the Festival de la Luz that brings as many as a million people to the streets of San José for a Christmas parade.

This year it is Dec. 14.

Police also are on high alert for the annual festival in Zapote, which begins Christmas Day.

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