Region, Nicoya

Juan Antonio Eras: “We Will Continue Working with Community Security Committees”

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Since November 23, the Public Force of Nicoya has a new commander, Lieutenant Colonel Juan Antonio Eras, from Liberia, who has been working for the Ministry of Public Security for 26 years. Eras has been carrying out the role of police chief for 16 years in areas of Guanacaste like Liberia, Cañas, Carrillo and Santa Cruz.

Eras spoke with The Voice of Guanacaste and affirmed that part of his strategy is to combat crime in the canton of Nicoya through preventive actions.

What is the first thing you have done to assume the leadership in Nicoya?

I have dedicated myself to getting to know the canton during my first days of assuming the position and we did a diagnostic of the area.

What is the outlook that you found?

The idiosyncrasy of the towns of Guanacaste is different. Some are more active than others during the holidays. In Nicoya’s case, there is a lot of party activity. Since I assumed the role, fiestas have been almost constant and this makes for greater movement of people, so police work becomes strong.

Where have you found the highest crime rate?

According to the diagnostic we did recently, we found that the most active districts for crime are Nicoya center, San Martin (neighborhood), Samara and Nosara, which show a similarity in incidence and type of crimes…. where robbery and theft predominate. However, they can’t be considered violent areas.

How are you going to counteract it?

Increased patrols in these areas, especially in business areas, which in fact we’ve already started to do through the Operational Support Group (GAO- Grupo de Apoyo Operacional) and the Police Assistance Center (CAP- Centro de Asistencia Policial), which are the units of supportive intervention.

Do you have the necessary resources?

We are making an assessment. There are vehicles that are broken down and we need to see why, but there are enough resources and if, after this assessment, we detect that something is lacking, we will inform the appropriate agencies.

The former chief had a plan drawn up to deal with crime in the area. Will you continue with this plan or change it?

We’re building on the foundation that Omar Chavarria (former chief of the Nicoya Public Force) left. We are not changing anything. If we find something lacking within the strategies he left, we’ll improve it, but we support the plan that he left since no one knew what is happening in Nicoya better than he did.

Nicoya residents complain about the lack of security in the park (theft of light bulbs and internet) and the robbery in the municipality (see related article) , among other things. What kind of response are you going to give to that problem?

I found out about what happened in the park, so we have given orders to maintain constant surveillance in this place with the support of police on bicycle and support groups such as the GAO and CAP.

What are you going to do with security in Nosara and Samara?

We keep in mind that public safety is not just the responsibility of the Public Force. The community has to be involved to report any suspicious situation that they see to the authorities. Toward that end, we will continue working with community security committees.

What will your relationship with the press be?

Completely open, I have nothing to keep hidden. When they need something, I’ll be here and I will gladly be at their disposal.