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The number of car thefts in the country has fallen according to Costa Rican authorities. However, while theft nationally is down by 13%, in Heredia and Cartago there was an increase of 28% during the first quarter of this year.
Huyndai & Nissan Favoured by Car Thieves
According to the OIJ In the last 15 months a total of 5.585 vehicles were reported stolen, 16% of which were Huyndais, 13% Nissans, 9.8% Suzukis and 9.2% Toyotas.
The model years most favoured by thieves was from 1987 to 2000, even though there were some late model vehicles in the statistics.
In both provinces, the theft of vehicles was opposite to the national trend.
According to the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ), during the first three months of the year there were 1.002 reported cases during the first three months of 2012, down from 1.157 for the same period last year. However, in Heredia the number of reported cases rose from 124 to 162 and in Cartago fro 63 to 81.
Authorities attribute the increase in cases in the two provinces to gangs moving into those areas.
The OIJ says that in many cases the theft is without violence and a crime of opportunity when a vehicle is left unattended and a thief can easily take it and the owner not discovering the theft until hours or days later.
The OIJ reports that of all the vehicles stolen between January 1 and March 31 of this year, 1.002 vehicles (59% of all stolen vehicles) were simply taken without the owner not being aware of it until he or she went to the vehicle, only to find it disappeared.
Authorities also say that the favourite vehicles by thieves are the Hyundai and Nissan.
Francisco Segura, assistant director of the OIJ, said the drop in thefts can be attributed to better police coordination.
The OIJ data reveals a drop in the number of car thefts by “bajonazo” (at gun point). The numbers reveal that in the first quarter of 2012 only 16% of the thefts were by this method, in which the driver is violently intercepted on the road or when they arrive at home.
Following the bajonazo is the “cocherazo” method, this is where the locks to gates or garage doors are cut and the vehicle is rolled out without the owner realizing it.
13% of all thefts were by chocherazo, while 6% where by the owner trusting the person taking the vehicle. This occurs when, say a person is selling a car, the owner allows the potential buyer to take the vehicle out of test run or to the mechanics for a check.
Segura said that in many cases stolen vehicles are for reuse with false license plates or changing the characteristics. In other cases, it is for the parts, including theft by order.
The OIJ also reports that motorcycle thefts were down 24%, from 411 cases to 313.by
“We will not tolerate foreigners who commit crimes in the country”, says the Ministro de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública, Mario Zamora.
According to the minister, the recent implementation by the immigration service of an electronic system will control and monitor foreigners who are in prisons in Costa Rica.
The minister explained that with the new system it will send alerts, so that once the person has served his or her sentence in Costa Rica, they will be deported.
Zamora stressed that in the months before the person’s sentence is up the immigration service will proceed with the cancellation of their immigration status.
Of the 2.295 foreigner prisoners, 65% come from Nicaragua, 12% from Colombia, 4% from Panama and 4% from the United States, the rest from a variety of other countries.
A report last week found that 16% of Costa Rica’s prison population is of foreign nationals.
Last year, Costa Rican authorities made 456 deportations and rejected some 8.000 from entering the country.by