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Another Step toward a Safer Samara
Director General of Preventive Police met with community

By Arianna McKinney

Persistence is slowly paying off for Samara’s Security Committee as they receive more attention from officials in their quest to improve security after the murder of an Argentine tourist a few months ago. On Thursday, October 6 about 30 people attended a meeting with Director General of the Preventive Police Ivan Dumani Sáenz and other police officials.

After the meeting, Dumani told VON that he was impressed with the Samara community’s organization, level of commitment, knowledge of the real problem and willingness to work with the police.

Samara’s Security Committee organized a meeting with (left to right) Director General of the Preventive Police Ivan Dumani Sáenz, Director of the Public Force for Guanacaste Rafael Araya, Nicoya Police Chief Ronald Alvarez and Samara district chief Jose Angel Gomez Matarrita.

When he reports back to the Minister of Security, he said he will discuss the theme of police mobility due to lack of transportation, concern over improving surveillance, and the desire for police to be better prepared for their responsibility, along with the desire for the presence of other authorities besides the public force in Samara and the willingness of the police to improve communication.

One practical measure discussed during the meeting was the use of bicycles by the police to patrol areas such as the beach. Rafael Araya, director of the Public Force for Guanacaste, said that space is available at the police station in Samara to store bicycles and that an agreement can be signed with the Development Association to donate four mountain bikes ideally, which can be used to patrol between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. (not when it’s dark because of safety issues). President of the Development Association Luis Acosta agreed to assist in obtaining bicycles.

Another proposal accepted by the police officials is identifying four police officers to receive English classes in order to facilitate communication with foreigners. Laura Ellington and Julio Lopez, members of the Security Committee, also offered to assist any English-speaking people who wish to report crimes.
Araya provided his phone number to call him directly to report areas where crimes such as drug sales take place: 8683-5492. In two weeks, he will also have an official 24-hour number: 8891-1391.

Araya reported that they have been performing operatives in the area. One recent success was detaining seven people in Barrigona beach for theft. He was also happy to report that this year the number of complaints filed in Guanacaste went down by 321, a 14% decrease despite the efforts the police are making to encourage people to report crimes. Guanacaste had the greatest decrease in the nation. 

Another meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 25 at 1 p.m. at Intercultura with the Director General of the Ministry of Public Security Juan Jose Andrade.

Eleven members of the community have now successfully completed the Commercial Security course, according to Officer Dennis Garcia, and certificates will be awarded at the meeting on October 25.  Plans are also underway to begin a Community Security course on October 19. 


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