SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Television crews at the Pan American Games had equipment stolen this week from the compound of the National Stadium, the site of Friday’s opening ceremony, heightening concerns about crime at the tournament hosting over 6,800 athletes.
Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the executive-director of the games, said Thursday that police had retrieved stolen cameras but did not offer more details. He had reported the incident in a video the day before.
“Chile’s police have been up to this. In less than 24 hours they found cameras that were stolen from the region of the National Stadium,” Mayne-Nicholls said in a video posted on his social media channels.
Chilean police said Wednesday evening they had found some of the stolen items and arrested one of the alleged robbers. A contractor, and not local police, was in charge of security at the National Stadium compound when the incident took place.
The Pan American Games, the largest multisport event in the Americas, are held one year before the Olympics. Chile is hosting for the first time, with the tournament running from Oct. 10 to Nov. 5.
Recent polls have shown Chileans are especially worried about crime under President Gabriel Boric, whose administration has faced street protests ahead of the games in a politically divided nation.
The country’s government said crime increased 44% in 2022 in comparison with the previous year. Official figures also showed homicides doubled between 2016 and 2022, from 3.6 for every 100,000 residents to 7.
Chile’s government announced earlier this month that 3,000 police agents will work at the Pan American Games, the biggest sporting event the Andean country has hosted in years. Police presence at the National Stadium was greater Thursday than at the beginning of the week.
Organizers of the Pan American Games had previously told The Associated Press they had increased their attention in check points at the gates of every sporting venue.
AP journalist Eva Vergara contributed to this report.
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