Posts Tagged ‘crime’

More Murder in the Barrio

October 30, 2009

A stray bullet during a shootout between rival gangs killed a university student last evening, a few blocks from my office. This is the third murder this year that has taken place within a short walk of my office that I know of. Contrary to what many might think, this neighborhood is not a slum. In fact, it’s one of San Jose’s better neighborhoods, featuring a collection of small offices, decent restaurants and nightlife. But crime is out of control, and the authorities are unable and unwilling to do anything about it. It is indeed an unfortunate commentary on this society when you can’t walk along a crowded thoroughfare at 5:30 pm in a good part of town without an imminent risk of danger.

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Pistoleros run the show

October 22, 2008

There are roving bands of armed thieves everywhere, and the police are unwilling and/or uncapable of stopping it. Thus, the law-abiding sectors of society are forced to live behind bars, concertina wire and armed guards, while the criminals run free in the streets. (once I figure out how to post pics and such, I’ll show you what my neighborhood looks like). 

What to do? The local police department claimed a few days ago that most street robberies are due to “carelessness” (literally, descuido) by the pedestrians. Carelessness seems to be defined as having the incredibly poor judgement to walk on the streets, to own a cell phone and think you can use it in public, to have the gall to answer the door when someone rings the bell. 

Sadly, the descuido stems from the government’s lack of attention on this issue. Every day more foreigners are robbed, returning to their home countries with tales of marauding pirates aboard motorcycles, and the illiterate cops who do not even write down their reports. And once foreign investment and tourism leave Costa Rica for good, this place will turn into Honduras: a barren, impoverished wasteland governed by gangs. 

With all the environmental protection laws Costa Rica has enacted, which have benefitted the country (and the world) enormously, government officials are letting the country rot from within. And eventually all hollow trees fall.