May 25, 2024
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By Lionel Varela

Chambers of Commerce confirm that thefts are lighter during this period, but they also point out that this violent robbery that took place at La Serena Jewelry Store on Monday was an isolated incident.

In the last few days there have been a number of robberies in central La Serena, Coquimbo and surrounding areas. This has caused concern among the Union, who are demanding greater protection and security from the Carabineros.

According to business owners, security is a complex issue in the weeks before Christmas, as crimes increase every year.

Merchants claim that while the majority of crimes are committed by “lighter” gangs, sometimes they take a violent turn. This is what happened on Monday when an armed robbery took place at a jewelry shop located in Eduardo de La Barra and O’Higgins in La Serena.

Carlos Orrego is the president of La Serena Chamber of Commerce. He says that they are concerned with security issues in downtown and have taken preventive measures to address this.

Orrego said that crimes are on the rise during this period, much like meat thefts increase in September. Orrego said, ironically: “Criminals steal for gifts.”

We aren’t used to situations like this. “There have been crimes but the incident at the jewelery store was an isolated one. He explained that the coordination with Carabineros and the municipal authorities was effective, with alerts and cameras being used to monitor their movements.

Gonzalo Aceu, the head of Municipal Security of La Serena said that crime has decreased in the historical center, and the case of the jewelry shop robbery is a very specific, difficult-to-predict situation. We work constantly with inspectors throughout the day, and with the neighborhood security manager in charge of the only quadrant within the historic centre that coordinates with Carabineros. There have been some small crimes but the offenders have all been arrested by inspectors and police, then transferred to a police station. We therefore have an outcome. “They are typical lighters who enter a shop or display case, take something small and then leave,” explained he.

Arceu says that in this context “we’re always in contact with the Chamber of Commerce.” “Our manager observes neighbors and tenants every day and responds quickly to any situation that may affect them,” explained the Serena municipal security chief.

In recent weeks, thefts occurred at the newly opened Arturo Vidal shop in Coquimbo’s center. The administration even suggested that the store be moved to another community.

Alex Ramirez is the president of Coquimbo Chamber of Commerce. He stated in this sense that he hoped that the complaint of the relatives of the footballer made to the media would allow the authorities to pay more attention.

The problem of ‘lighters,’ which we deal with all year long is magnified at this period. We work together with the local police to prevent crime. Sadly, the police released them shortly afterwards because this was not an extensive theft. Before, you could catch him with the lighter to get the items back. “Now it’s much more violent, and mocks the system,” Ramirez says.

The Buenos Aires Municipality was consulted regarding security issues in downtown. They indicated there is a permanent coordination between the Chamber of Commerce and Carabineros in order to prevent crimes. Public Security is the municipality’s collaborator with police. It supports the combined preventive patrols with Second Police Station Carabineros. A tender has been launched to reinforce this effort. The municipality of Coquimbo reported that it had signed a contract worth 100 million pesos for the installation of a television surveillance system. This was to improve the recovery and safety of the public areas carried out by Coquimbo.

In the past two weeks, statistics show that only two robberies have been reported at Coquimbo’s commercial establishments, said Colonel Francisco Aravena. He said that the first robbery took place in an Aldunate Street warehouse and that the second was a surprise theft from a customer in a Coquimbo cosmetics shop.

It is not important how many there are, but it does matter that police officers are working hard to ensure the safety of everyone in the area. In the Puerto commune this is reflected in an increased police presence and inspections, as well as preventive rounds. The main goal of these measures is to actively reduce crime through prevention. In the past week, we arrested five individuals for thefts in the center of the community,” explained he.

As a result, the Colonel Aravena explained that, since mid-last year, the work was started in collaboration with the municipality. It has been possible to recover a significant space in the centre, by eradicating street commerce. This also contributes to the OS14 Agreement on Mixed Patrols which allows greater resources, greater dispersion and prevention.

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