As of May 2024, Costa Rica’s Homicide Rate Is 2.36 per Day or 16.4 Homicides per Every 100,000 Inhabitants

By Eddie Galdamez  | Updated on Jun 16th, 2024
Costa Rica's Homicide RateViolence in Costa Rica.

In 2024, Costa Rica is maintaining a homicide rate similar to last year. The country’s current homicide rate stands at 2.36 per day or 16.4 homicides per every 100,000 inhabitants, which is slightly lower than the rate recorded in 2023.

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 89 19 (27.14%)
March 48 56 46 66 75 9 (13.64%)
April 36 48 48 84 60 -24 (-28.57%)
May 48 47 54 77 65 -12 (-15.58%)
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 570 589 661 903 359 -544 (-60.24%)
Per Day 1.56 1.61 1.81 2.47 2.36
Per 100,000 inhabitants 11.1 11.4 12.8 17.2 16.4

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 88, five less than during the same period in 2023. Limon follows with 76 homicides, 16 fewer compared to the same 2023 period.

The Heredia province is at the bottom; it has registered only 18 homicides thus far this year, four less than the 22 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 88 -128 (-59.26%)
Limon 127 152 170 213 76 -137 (-64.32%)
Puntarenas 85 105 111 149 67 -82 (-55.03%)
Alajuela 77 70 107 104 43 -61 (-58.65%)
Cartago 38 41 43 73 36 -37 (-50.68%)
Guanacaste 33 36 61 100 31 -69 (-69.00%)
Heredia 48 55 49 48 18 -30 (-62.50%)

SEE ALSO: Homicide Rate in El Salvador

This year, two provinces have experienced a raise in homicides compared to the same 2023 period.

Cartago has reported the highest percentage increase in homicides, with 36 cases, representing a rise of 50.00% compared to the corresponding period in 2023. Following is Puntarenas, with 67 murders recorded this year, indicating a 21.82% increase compared to the same period last year.

Homicides per Province as of May, 2024
province 2023 2024 2023-2024 Change
Cartago 24 36 12 (50.00%)
Puntarenas 55 67 12 (21.82%)
San Jose 93 88 -5 (-5.38%)
Alajuela 47 43 -4 (-8.51%)
Limon 92 76 -16 (-17.39%)
Heredia 22 18 -4 (-18.18%)
Guanacaste 41 31 -10 (-24.39%)

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.