False: “Today we have fewer police officers and more thieves” in Santa Cruz

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On December 11, Cartagena parish was host to six of the seven candidates for mayor of Santa Cruz for the 2020-2024 term, who debated their proposals for the canton.

Jorge Alfaro, from Authentic Santa Cruzan Party, said during the debate: “Today we have fewer police officers and more thieves.”

The first part of this statement was seconded by Pastor Gomez (PUSC) who also said that Santa Cruz has fewer police officers.

Consulted by La Voz later, both candidates explained that they were referring to the number of Public Force personnel dedicated to strengthening security in the canton of Santa Cruz.

Alfaro also said that “more thieves” means that the canton reports more and more crimes such as robberies and assaults.

The Voice Fact Checking concluded that the statements are false after consulting the police statistics of the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ) and obtaining official information from the Ministry of Public Security, through the minister’s office advisor, Pablo Soto.

Although the candidate for mayor didn’t deepen what years or period he was referring to, Soto said that the number of Public Force officers specifically assigned to the canton of Santa Cruz has been increasing in the last three years: by 2017 there were 89 police officers, for In 2018, the amount amounted to 97, and in 2019 it reached 104 employees.

In 2011, there were 1,144 crimes. In 2019, that number fell to 874. In the period analyzed, the decline in crimes was only interrupted in 2017, when there were 1,149 cases. 

The period studied by The Voice Verifies extends from January 1, 2011 to December 1, 2019 and includes statistics on all types of crime (assaults, robbery, vandalism, vehicle theft and homicide) and victims (individuals, buildings, vehicles, homes and others).

Our methodology: 

The Voice Fact Checking, a Voice of Guanacaste initiative, analyzed the candidates’ proposals and chose a few that could be fact-checked against data and facts and not opinions. 

The selected statements weren’t the only ones matching these criteria, but were chosen because of their relevance for Santa Cruz.

These are other statements that we fact-checked: 

True: Santa Cruz only has zoning plans along 21 miles of coast

False: Santa Cruz City missed out on collecting $5.6 million in back taxes

The candidates who took part in the debate were Arcadio Carrera for the National Integration Party, Iván Ramírez of the National Liberation Party, Mauricio Mexicano from the Citizens’ Action Party, Pastor Gómez of the Social Christian Unity Party, Marcos Vidal for the New Republic Party and Jorge Arturo Alfaro of the Authentic Santa Cruzan Party.

The only absent candidate was Edka Contreras, who represents the National Restoration Party (PRN).