The security emphasis will be on prevention, officials say

New public security officials say that there will be a focus on more indirect sources to prevent crime under this administration’s watch. The new minister of Seguridad Pública, Celso Gamboa, said Monday that his team will stress police education and communication with the general public

Marking just his third work day on the job, Gamboa said the issue of better prevention comes per request of President Luis Guillermo Solís. Gamboa repeatedly extolled the benefits of surveillance in attacking crime.

“We hope it will intensify our presence,” he said. “Also another fundamental position that Luis Guillermo Solís has directed us is for the professional formation to dignify the police force.”

Gamboa said better resources and an improved workspace are key in installing a more respectable collection of officers. He was joined at the press conference by his two vice ministers, Luis Gustavo Mata and María Fulmen, who echoed the need for increased preventative measures.

“Whether it is on the streets or in our homes, we are going to make sure the people are safe,” she said. “Crime prevention is very important to ensure these liberties.”

Gamboa said he would like to solidify schooling programs in the Escuela de Policía for trainees, but that funds and resources are limited. Though he complimented former minister Mario Zamora by pointing out that Costa Rica is the region’s safest country, he added that the ministry is facing serious problems with its structure and working conditions.

“This is not synonymous with higher salaries,” he said. “It’s synonymous with better preparation to have quicker responses and provide essential services for the citizen.”

Gamboa said his administration will be more strict on focusing the ministry’s funds to the appropriate areas. He said there are more than 400 Fuerza Pública police stations that need to be taken care of so that the new administration can fulfill its security plans.

“We are talking about growing our human talent and giving acceptable working conditions to strengthen the budget’s execution.”

Gamboa, one of Solis’ more experienced cabinet members, was the former vice minister of Seguridad Pública during the Laura Chinchilla years. Mata has been put in charge of regular units, which includes all Fuerza Pública branches.

Ms. Fulmen heads the special units made up of bodies like the Servicio Nacional de Guardacosta and drug control police.

By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

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