More than 80 people attended the Nosara Security Association meeting on Tuesday, November 11, at 10 a.m. at Giardino Tropicale. Many in attendance expressed concern or raised questions about recent attempted rape attacks as well as a wave of thefts.
Members of the association’s board took advantage of the opportunity to plead for more support, for people to donate time and money, reiterating that meetings normally are attended by just five people and that most of the association’s work has been done by these same few individuals.
Steve Reyer, president of the association, opened the meeting, explaining the role of the security association, which also includes the volunteer firefighters. He reviewed some of this year’s successes. For example, an individual paid a man who sells pipa coconuts to watch the parking lot at the main entrance to Guiones Beach for five months during last high season and noted that he knew of only one car that was broken into during that time. Another initiative that saw positive results was the neighborhood watch organized to patrol during evening hours. He reported that no break-ins occurred while the watch was active. The patrols are not currently happening because only five people regularly volunteered to participate, but interest was expressed in organizing these patrols again.
Another individual paid to have a 360-degree security camera installed at the Baker’s Beach entrance after the recent attempted rape that took place there at the end of October.
Next, Agnes Pinheiro, the current treasurer, reported that the association currently has a deficit of $8000, emphasizing the danger of losing the tourist police presence since they are currently unable to pay the rent for the police station, about $600 per month, as well as the phone bill of about $100 per month and the electric bill of about $500 per month, a total of around $1200 per month. She said she is not optimistic about the ongoing effort to get the Public Ministry to take over these expenses, although a budget has been approved, because they require the installation of a handicap ramp and a civil works inspection of the building, which is old and would likely need costly work done to meet standards.
Pinheiro said these two points might be deal breakers, meaning they either need to find a new building with at least three bedrooms where the police can be housed or need more funds donated to keep the police in town. The police also need a computer with internet connectivity and Microsoft Word and Excel in order to file reports. The computer that was previously donated to them is no longer working.
She affirmed that although the tourist police are limited in what they can do, they are doing their jobs and are valuable to the community. Others in attendance also expressed appreciation for fast responses from the tourist police.
Pinheiro said that another battle the association plans to take on is to protest to the district attorney (fiscalia) regarding the types of criminal suspects who are released free instead of kept in prison as a preventive measure.
Regarding recent robberies, Pinheiro said that they have the names of suspects as well as a car identified, but the car is registered in another person’s name. She said that the suspects seem to have left the area as no new robberies have occurred in the past few days.
She stated that it is up to each homeowner to secure their houses and rental properties with measures such as bars on windows, cameras and security guards. “Protect the people who are bringing the money to us. Nosara doesn’t exist without tourists,” she urged.
Likewise, Nosara business owner Bram Shook encouraged people to take measures to ensure that their homes are more protected, especially security cameras since robbers don’t want their pictures taken and leave the area as soon as their pictures begin to circulate. He cited success stories such as the efforts made by neighbors in section EE, which used to be the worst crime spot two years ago, but since neighbors organized and a guard shack was installed, the problem has stopped.
At the conclusion of the meeting the association was able to elect a new eight-member board for the next two years, and several others also volunteered to work with the association. The new board includes: Steve Reyer, re-elected as president, Kimberly Wegman as vice president, Bobbi Johnson as treasurer, Agnes Pinheiro as secretary, Spacialle Mora as fiscal, and vocals Rodger Dwork, Ryan Bombard and Rich Burnam.
Anyone who is interested in donating time or money toward security efforts or who has ideas for projects or initiatives is encouraged to write to [email protected]. Donations can be deposited in Banco Costa Rica account 001-0291745-9, cuenta cliente 15201001029174597, in the name of Asociacion de Seguridad Comunitaria de Nosara, cedula juridical 3-002-622232.