Police presence increased along the southern Caribbean coast

The police presence in the southern Caribbean is being beefed up in advance of the tourism high season.

The tourist police have a permanent location now in Playa Cocles, and security cameras are being installed in Cocles, Manzanillo and Puerto Viejo. The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo has donated two new all-terrain patrol vehicles as well as money for hanging the 11 security cameras, said the security ministry.

The Caribbean coast has been victimized by several robbery bands recently, but the police now promise patrols 24 hours a day. There are 10 more officers stationed there to do that job, the ministry noted. There also are six more motorcycles.

The new facility is a three-story structure.

The local Cámara de Turismo has been seeking better police protection for years. The area’s reputation as a laid-back beach community has been challenged by armed robberies and invasions of major hotels.

Some merchants have contacted A.M. Costa Rica to report that they were closing their businesses and leaving the area.

The tourism-base economy has certainly suffered from the bad publicity.

There have been a series of changes, including efforts to allow tourists who may have been victims of crimes to travel easily to BriBri, the canton’s administrative center, to file complaints.

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