Minister says police caught 700 in the act or nearly so in September

Fuerza Pública officers caught and remanded to flagrancy courts 700 suspects in September alone. The security ministry issued this statistic to show that police were doing a good job, but the numbers also illuminate crime in Costa Rica.

The statistic means that on average more than 23 times a day in September police just happened to be on hand or nearby when a crime took place.

Celso Gamboa Sánchez, the minister, said that the September total was the highest in a month since the flagrancy courts were created in 2008. He also said that more than 4,800 persons have been remanded to the courts since the beginning of the year.

The minister’s report did not contain any statistics as to what happened to the suspects after they appeared before a judge. Typically judges let off first offenders.

The courts were created to handle cases when a police officer has witnessed a crime or has collared a suspect close to where the crime took place. The violations usually are delitos or felonies, such as armed street robberies, burglaries or smash-and-grab thefts.

An example would be the man that Fuerza Pública officers in

The Heredia intruder was carrying this.

The Heredia intruder was carrying this.

Heredia pulled out of a ceiling of a video store Wednesday. The man had a butcher knife and a toy pistol, they said. He was remanded to a flagrancy court and perhaps was the first to go there in October.

Not every suspect goes to the court. Some may have been caught in the act but are found to have more serous warrants in their name. In addition, persons associated with murders and other very serious crimes usually are held until judicial investigators arrive.

San José province led the list in the number of September suspects remanded to the court, said the ministry.  Limón was second, followed by Alajuela and Puntarenas.

Gamboa attributed the large number of arrests to police sweeps of high-crime zones and a permanent presence is high-crime areas.

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