How bad is the crime?

This is a topic that everyone likes and doesn’t like to talk about.  Crime happens, it happens everywhere.  The more people you have in an area, the more crime that is going to happen.  That is just a fact of numbers.  Have I been robbed?  Yes.  I was also robbed in the US.  The person, or people, who robbed our house knew us. That much we do know.  We just couldn’t prove it, but we knew who it was.  The night we got robbed at our home there were about four other houses that got robbed that night.  All of this was planned by someone.  We live in a small town with only a couple of police officers.  So, while the cops were at one house taking a statement of what happened the people were onto another house robbing that one.  They knew the cops would be at the last house taking the statement so they knew they had time to rob another house.  It was very well planned.  It really brought our community together though.  It made us to be more aware of each others home, even letting neighbors know that they would be gone.  We make sure to keep our bushes on the side of the house cut down so our neighbors can see our house and we can see theirs.  We also have a couple of dogs now.  A lot of people won’t go near a house with a dog because they will bark and wake up the owners, or fear of being bit.  We have a small chihuahua mixed dog, she is the alarm system, and we have an American Stafford, he is the Calvary. It’s a good mix for us.

When we go out in town, I always carry my purse across my body, this prevents someone from just snatching it and running off.  Locally, my husband will keep his wallet in his back pocket, but when going to San Jose or another big city he carries it in his front pocket.  Petty theft is the biggest thing to really worry about.  Documents and credit cards can be replaced, so I don’t recommend carrying around a bunch of cash.  Don’t be flaunting your cash either, that just makes you a target and look arrogant here.  Expensive jewelry, leave it at home.  If you want to wear something that looks nice, just get some costume jewelry, no one here is going to really know the difference.  People here don’t really care what brand your clothes are, what brand your phone is, if you have the most high fashion purse, they care if you treat them well.  They also don’t care if you have the biggest house or the nicest car.  They care more about the kind of person you are.  But that is another topic.

When in the city, just be aware of your surroundings.  If something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t.  And never let a taxi driver tell you the meter is not working.  They are lying.  Just get out of the taxi and get a different one.  Pure and simple.  In the city, only use official taxis, they are red with a yellow triangle on the side.  Be street smart, which I know for a lot of people is very difficult.  This is a foreign country with different laws and a different language.  The court system can be extremely slow and hardly any results for petty theft.  Always file a report though, even though it will take a while to do so.  Most of this goes unreported by the locals.

I will say about the night we got robbed.  The police came out to our house at 2 am.  We filled the report with them.  They told us that the OIJ will be out later in the day to investigate and for us to not touch anything.  The OIJ is like the FBI in the US.  Well, they did actually come out to the house and dusted for prints, found nothing.  I do believe that they went to the other houses as well and did the same thing.  They called me about a week later to ask if I knew anything else or had anymore information for them.  I had nothing.  Then one day, about two weeks after the break-in, someone showed up at my gate telling me they found my purse.  We followed him to his house, I think he was drunk at 10 am, and he had my purse with all my documents in it.  The cell phone, camera, and MP3 players were gone though.  But the IDs were more important.  Also, the turtle eraser and gorilla key chain was gone.  I was most upset about the turtle, long story.  I went back to the OIJ and told them what had happened, they were shocked.  Then about two months later they called me again to do a follow up.  Still nothing new.  I feel this is one of the advantages to living in a small community.  More people seem to care.

I have gotten to know several police officers in my town, they get rotated out every so often.  I was taking my dog to the vet and one stopped me to ask about him.  He was very impressed with him.  He was very nice and respectful to me.  One cop I gave a puppy to, since we had 5 that needed homes.  He looked like a kid at Christmas when I finally gave it to him.  This guy was over 6 feet tall and had a lot of muscles and he was just glowing with joy over this little pup!  It was so cute.  I have never had a problem with the cops in my area, many have stopped us just to talk about where we are from.  We have never been asked for ID.  It’s good here.  I know a lot of people have had very bad experiences with cops and the justice system down here.  But that to happens everywhere.  Well, if you have any questions just ask.  Until manaña, Pura Vida.

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