As of April 2024, Costa Rica’s Homicide Rate Is 2.37 per Day or 16.5 Homicides per Every 100,000 Inhabitants

By Eddie Galdamez  | Updated on May 9th, 2024
Costa Rica's Homicide RateViolence in Costa Rica.

As of April 30, 2024, Costa Rica maintains a homicide rate similar to that of the previous year. The country’s current homicide rate stands at 2.37 per day or 16.5 homicides per every 100,000 inhabitants, which is lower than the rate recorded last year.

In 2023, Costa Rica’s Homicide Rate was 2.47 per day or 17.2 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. Last Year, Costa Rican authorities registered 903 murders, 242 more than the 661 reported in the previous year (2022).

The country known for safety and security reached record highs in homicides in 2023; the Rodrigo Chaves government is struggling to address the mounting security problems.

Costa Rica’s Homicide Rate
Month 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2023-2024 Change
January 49 49 60 77 70 -7 (-9.09%)
February 46 48 51 70 87 17 (24.29%)
March 48 56 46 66 75 9 (13.64%)
April 36 48 48 84 55 -29 (-34.52)
May 48 47 54 77
June 43 45 52 72
July 49 38 53 70
August 41 55 58 88
September 50 37 45 77
October 58 58 68 73
November 57 58 62 83
December 45 50 64 66
Total 570 589 661 903 287 -616 (-68.22%)
Per Day 1.56 1.61 1.81 2.47 2.37
Per 100,000 inhabitants 11.1 11.4 12.8 17.2 16.5

Costa Rica has long been recognized for its reputation as a safe and stable country with a strong emphasis on environmental conservation, a robust education system, and a booming tourism industry.

However, in 2023, the country witnessed an alarming rise in homicides, which could potentially tarnish its image as a Pura Vida destination.

SEE ALSO: Central America Homicide Rate

Thus far in 2024, the San Jose province has reported the highest number of homicides, totaling 73, four less than during the same period in 2023. Limon follows with 61 homicides, 14 fewer compared to the same 2023 period.

The Heredia province is at the bottom; it has registered only 11 homicides thus far this year, seven less than the 18 reported in the same 2023 period.

2024 Cost Rica’s Homicide Rate per Province
Province 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2023-2024 Change
San Jose 162 130 120 216 73 -143 (-66.20%)
Limon 127 152 170 213 61 -152 (-71.36%)
Puntarenas 85 105 111 149 54 -95 (-63.76%)
Alajuela 77 70 107 104 35 -69 (-66.35%)
Cartago 38 41 43 73 29 -44 (-60.27%)
Guanacaste 33 36 61 100 24 -76 (-76.00%)
Heredia 48 55 49 48 11 -37 (-77.08%)

SEE ALSO: Homicide Rate in El Salvador

Two provinces have experienced a raise in homicides compared to the same 2023 period.

This year, Cartago has reported the highest percentage increase in homicides, with 29 cases, representing a rise of 61.11% compared to the corresponding period in 2023. Following is Puntarenas, with 54 murders recorded this year, indicating a 31.71% increase compared to the same period last year.

Homicides per Province as of March 31, 2024
province 2023 2024 2023-2024 Change
Cartago 18 29 11 (61.11%)
Puntarenas 41 54 13 (31.71%)
Alajuela 36 35 -1 (-2.78%)
San Jose 77 73 -4 (-5.19%)
Limon 75 61 -14 (-18.76%)
Guanacaste 32 24 -8 (-25.00%)
Heredia 18 11 -7 (-38.89%)

Costa Rican authorities have taken a variety of measures to stem the recent increase in drug trafficking and homicides. However, the homicides seem to be increasing.

Drug trafficking and organized crime have driven the spike in homicides to a country known for safety. These criminal groups fight over control of territories for drug selling and distribution.

Costa Rica has historically been a stepping stone for Colombian cocaine in route to the United States and Europe. Seizures spiked 56% in 2020 and stayed high in 2021, possibly signaling an increased role in the trade. But in 2022, seizures dropped 46%. InSightCrime.

Costa Rica is not a producer of narcotic substances; however, its location makes it one of the largest export platforms of narcotics to many nations.

The increase in homicides not only increases the feeling of citizen insecurity but also damages the image of a country that, until a few years ago, enjoyed the lowest figures of violence in Central America.