With over 600 homicides this year, Costa Rica is closer to breaking historical murder stats

By Eddie Galdamez  |  Sep 4th, 2023
Costa Rica's president, Rodrigo Chaves
Costa Rica’s president, Rodrigo Chaves.

Costa Rica is well-known for its safety, stable democracy, robust education system, emphasis on environmental conservation, and tourism. However, this year, Costa Rica is on track to set new homicide rates, which may affect the Pura Vida country’s image.

The Judicial Investigation Agency (Organismo de Investigación Judicial “OIJ”) reported on Friday, September 1, that so far this year, 602 homicides had been registered in Costa Rica, 184 more than in the same period in 2022 when 418 murders were reported.

If this trend in homicides continues, Costa Rica, in September, could easily surpass the historical record of 627 murders from last year.

It is unfortunate that a consolidated democracy, such as Costa Rica, suffers the attack of transculturalized and transnationalized criminal gangs under the influence of the Mexican, Colombian, and Jamaican cartels; 600 homicides is an unacceptable number. Ministry of Public Security of Costa Rica.

SEE ALSO: Central America Homicide Rate

The OIJ reports that with 151 murders (42 more in the same 2022 period), the Limon province has the highest number of homicides this year. It is followed by San Jose with 147 (76 more) and Puntarenas with 96 homicides, 28 more than a year ago.

The increase in violence in the Central American nation is attributed to disputes between criminal gangs dedicated to drug trafficking.

According to a UN report, in Costa Rica, there is a homicide every 10 hours, thanks to territorial conflicts over the control of drug trafficking routes to the United States.

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.

SEE ALSO: Cocaine and Marijuana Fuel Ever-Higher Homicides in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s president, Rodrigo Chaves, recently introduced new measures to curb drug trafficking, such as deploying more police officers on the streets and restrictions on accessing weapons and ammunition.

The Costa Rican president also announced changes in the criminal law so that drug traffickers and murderers cannot access prison benefits.