San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Santa Ana to get municipal police force

Thirty-five municipal police officers will soon be patrolling Santa Ana, west of San José.

Backed up by 16 surveillance cameras strategically placed throughout the municipality, the officers will take on a burgeoning crime problem.

That’s the plan, at least, according to Mayor Gerardo Oviedo. “The lack of police has been one of our residents’ primary complaints,” he said. “We’ve got a serious problem with drug addiction, alcoholism, organized gangs of car thieves and assaults for cell phones.”

Oviedo, whose municipality reassessed local property values in 2007 to help come up with funding for a municipal police force, said 31 officers have already begun work and another four will begin work soon.

He said the 2007 assessment resulted in a roughly 20 percent increase in property values and of the 3,000 appraisals already conducted, there have been only 10 appeals.

“This is something the community has wanted for a long time,” he said. “There hasn’t been a lot of resistance.”

Oviedo said the 35-strong police force will have two patrol cars, each with a shotgun, and two motorcycles. Each officer will be armed with a pistol.

The police office, where the surveillance cameras are being monitored, is in the municipal headquarters. They can be reached at 2203-5559.

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