Citation(s) from the Gun Policy News media archive

'Don't Play With Guns,' Costa Rica's Police Tell Schoolchildren

Members of the National Police, the Justice Ministry and an anti-violence group are organizing toy gun exchanges ahead of the holidays to help fight violence in at-risk communities.

Tico Times (Costa Rica)

21 November 2013

Relevant contents

[S]ince 2010, the Costa Rican Justice Ministry and the United Nations Children's Fund have organized toy gun exchanges in which children receive more educational items instead of ones that promote violence. LIMPAL plans to organize a similar exchange before the Christmas season.

Officials from the Justice Ministry also participate in school talks about ways to prevent violence.

"The most important thing is that children learn about the risks and dangers of weapons. We give them advice on how to act if they see an abandoned gun; we ask them not to touch it and to report it to an adult," Justice Vice Minister Max Loria said. Since the campaign started, officials have talked to more than 30,000 children…

In addition to law enforcement, the National Police also fights crime with preventive measures including the organization of tournaments and art activities in elementary schools.

"We work with 400 children in high-risk communities in San José and our goal is that none of them becomes a criminal," said Roberto Ortega, coordinator of preventive programs at the National Police in San José. He added that the program has helped to improve the police's image among children and raise awareness regarding the consequences of getting involved in criminal activities.

Lizano believes that parents can teach children to avoid weapons and violence…

Before the start of this year's Christmas season, Lizano started posting on Facebook and talking to media about the dangers associated with giving children toys that promote violence. Whenever she can talk with a parent, Lizano tells them not to allow children to even imitate a gun with their finger.

ID: N438

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