A large volume of vehicular traffic and single lane roads often lead to severe congestion and delays across the country. U.S. government officials are not permitted to stay in certain hotels in downtown San José due to safety concerns. The recent steady increase in the homicide rate has, in part, been attributed to the increase in organized drug trafficking and associated activities. Less-monitored areas on Costa Rica’s borders and beaches are utilized to traffic drugs and other types of contraband. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Costa Rica. Overseas Security Advisory Council ), violent crimes (being mugged or robbed, being attacked or insulted), corruption and other crimes. And 2018 isn’t looking much better. Random acts of petty theft remain the primary area of concern; however, armed robberies do occur. Interested private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s Western Hemisphere team with any questions. Crime scene. Due to crime, exercise increased caution in Central neighborhood in Limon, Liberia city, Desamparados neighborhood in San Rafael, and Pavas and Hospital neighborhoods in San José. Costa Rica murder/homicide rate for 2016 was 11.90, a 2.59% increase from 2015. “Crime is increasing in Costa Rica and U.S. citizens are frequent victims. Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns. American tourists and residents can also take steps to protect themselves. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Weibo (Opens in new window), COVID-19 aggravating Brazil’s Jails Crisis, COVID-19 Has Hit Undocumented Immigrants Hardest, Business Education is Changing Guatemala’s Indigenous Lives. Most thefts occur when cars are left unattended or in the evenings when people are walking alone in the dark. Historically, Costa Rican politics was dominated by two major parties that routinely garnered more than 94% of the national vote. The main factor driving this level of violence is competition among local groups engaged in … This is true regardless of who was at fault or coverage by insurance. The triangle will include a designated number that matches the number on the taxis license plate. In general, air travel is deemed reliable without major security concerns or unnecessary travel delays. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Theft of travel documents is a common complaint among foreign visitors – particularly during peak tourism months in the dry season (December-April), when criminals take advantage of larger crowds. When planning travel to the area, consider that a disaster may strike without warning. How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment. It does not matter where you are, there is a fairly high chance that you might fall victim - whether it is in Quepos , Puerto Viejo , Samara, Arenal, or Tamarindo . The latter three countries, which accounted for 16,000 murders in 2016, provide the biggest source of undocumented migrants heading to the United States. 2018 marks 70 years since Costa Rica abolished its Army. Various agencies, to include U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Transportation Security Administration, work closely with the government of Costa Rica to improve airport procedures for the increased safety of passengers and efficiency of airport operations. The U.S. Department of State has assessed San José as being a, The most widely used indicator of crime is the homicide rate, which reached a record high of 603 in 2017, equaling 12.1 per 100,000 people, continuing a six-year upward trend (specific data may be found on the. During the rainy season (May-November), landslides and washed out roads are a common occurrence. Road conditions may change drastically and suddenly due to weather, construction, or accessibility. Publishing or The majority of kidnappings are a result of feuds between rival criminal organizations. This weakness is compounded by the general instability of party support and increased split-… They mainly respond to traffic accidents. If confronted by a thief, remain calm and do not resist. Costa Rica is sandwiched between Nicaragua and Panama which, together, have relatively low crime and murder rates compared with El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to the north. Cases of Arancha Gutiérrez and María Trinidad Mathus, both occurring in August 2018, are the most recent examples of t… Proceeds from international narcotics trafficking represent the largest source of assets laundered in Costa Rica, although human trafficking, financial fraud, corruption, and contraband smuggling also generate illicit revenue. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. What the tourist board wants everyone to know is that “Costa Rica has the lowest crime rate of any Central American country“, but this a dubious claim at best. U.S. citizens who are detained by the police will be given the opportunity to contact friends or family. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Assault rate: Number of assaults recorded by police per 100,000 population ; Crime levels: Level of crime.Based on 0-50 contributions for Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria and 82 more countries and 50-100 contributions for Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria and 24 more countries and over 100 contributions for Australia, Brazil, Canada and 17 more countries. Serious flooding occurs annually in the Caribbean province of Limón and the Pacific province of Puntarenas. Performs ground security, law enforcement, counter narcotics, and border patrol functions. Due to the country’s reputation as a leader in ecotourism and biodiversity, Costa Rica receives almost three million tourists annually from around the world. It’s difficult to find any comprehensive crime stats more recent than 2011 for Costa Rica. Individuals should consult the agency’s, The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for, The San José Country Council meets quarterly by invitation only. Crime is increasing in Costa Rica and U.S. citizens are frequent victims. But despite the rise in murders, Costa Rica is still one of the safest country in the region. Please review OSAC’s Costa Rica-specific page for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC password. However, should it occur, the incident should be reported to the U.S. Embassy. The downtown area of San José is a tourist destination during daylight hours. Crime and Safety in Costa Rica. U.S. citizens traveling to Costa Rica should register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to ensure they receive pertinent security updates and notices. Organismo de Investigación (OIJ): Agency that investigates all crimes for prosecution. It is unusual for crimes to turn violent (although it has been known to occasionally happen). To be covered under the Costa Rican public health system, an individual must be a Costa Rican citizen or have residency. Officially registered taxis will be red or orange with a yellow triangle on the side door and functioning meters installed. The main factor driving this level of violence is competition among groups engaged in the domestic sale and transport of drugs. But now drug-traffickers have their eye on this once-tranquil territory and crime rates are on the rise. In 2017, Costa Rica recorded a record number of 116 water-related deaths. Would you like to continue with this session or log out? Traffic laws and speed limits are often ignored, turn signals are rarely used, passing on dangerous stretches of highway is common, and pedestrians are not given the right-of-way. Costa Rica wants to reform the law and reduce the number of weapons on the street in order to decrease the alarming crime rate. Those detained by law enforcement should immediately contact the U.S. Embassy at 2519-2000. To have a crime investigated/prosecuted, it must be reported to, Directorate de Inteligencia y Seguridad (DIS), For medical assistance, please refer to the Embassy’s, REVA Inc. is a fixed-wing air ambulance and medevac service with operations throughout the western hemisphere. Homicides Roundup. Travelers should be aware that smaller domestic carriers and charter flights do not have the same type of oversight and regulation as the commercial aviation industry in the U.S. The fatality rate for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists is high. Please note that all OSAC products are for internal U.S. private sector security purposes only. Police response can be obtained by calling 911; however, response times may vary due to the availability of manpower/vehicles and based on location, time of day, and severity of the accident, particularly outside of San José or major tourist centers. Since 1994, however, no party has won majority control of the 57-member legislative assembly, and parties find it increasingly difficult to garner the 40% national vote share necessary to capture the presidency. Costa Rica crime rate & statistics for 2017 was 12.30, a 3.36% increase from 2016. Public hospitals generally do not accept private insurance, though private hospitals will, if the plan includes suitable coverage for care while abroad. A key factor in combating the increasing drug-related criminal activity is the strong security cooperation with the U.S. government. Motorcyclists commonly drive without respect to rules of the road, often passing on the right, weaving in/out of traffic without warning, and creating lanes where none officially exist. Interested private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s, U.S. citizens traveling to Costa Rica should register with the, External links to other internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein. Visitors are reminded that they must obey all traffic regulations and be familiar with road conditions prior to traveling. Costa Rica has a long tradition of being a stable democracy. © 2018 CGTN America. Credit card theft/fraud is also a common crime faced by visitors. 2018 marks 70 years since Costa Rica abolished its Army. Since 2015 the murder rate has significantly exceeded the World Health Organization homicide epidemic threshold of 10 per 100,000 inhabitants. Those involved in traffic accidents should be prepared for a significant wait. otherwise distributing OSAC-derived information in a manner inconsistent with this policy may result in the discontinuation of OSAC support. Crime is a consistent and significant concern in Costa Rica. Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence. More & More People Retiring in Costa Rica. Although a long-simmering territorial dispute with neighboring Nicaragua has raised tensions, at times, between them. The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Costa Rica. Costa Rican law prohibits the movement of vehicles involved in an accident prior to the arrival of investigative authorities. Costa Rica has been on the U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 Watch List for deficiencies in its protection of intellectual property rights. SITUATION Costa Rica is currently facing an unprecedented rise in the murder rate. Costa Rica became a “no-Army nation” in 1948 to renounce violence and encourage calm. Many victims maintain physical possession of their cards, but their credit card information is stolen and later used without their knowledge. Costa Rica is mostly safe, with 1.9 million visitors annually making it a popular travel destination. In 2017, Costa Rica broke the country’s record in reported homicides with 603 and a homicide rate of 12.1 per 100,000 individuals. It’s one of a handful of countries in the region without a military. Travelers can access the Costa Rican National Emergency Commission and the Costa Rican Volcanic and Seismic Observatory for additional information. All I am trying to say is that crime, unfortunately, is a part of life in Costa Rica and it does affect tourists as well. Traffic police occasionally enforce traffic rules, and citations can be costly and must be paid before leaving the country. For more information on ride-sharing, please review OSAC’s Annual Briefing Report “Safety and Security in the Share Economy.”. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. The homicide rate in Costa Rica has been fairly stable in the past five years, with the numbers varying between 9.5 and 12.1 per 100,000 inhabitants. Correspondent Harris Whitbeck visited the region to tell us more. Experts from the Health Ministry and the National University have stated that fine particulate matter from volcanic ash (frequently from Turrialba and Poas) and automobile exhaust can be a public health concern in the greater metropolitan area, which includes San José and parts of Alajuela, Cartago, and Heredia. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. The majority of crime and safety threats to U.S. official and private communities are opportunistic acts of theft. Costa Rica’s homicide rate in 2018 was 11.7 per 100,000. In Costa Rica, homicide rates have been in its record high since 2015. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. That means for every 100,000 people, 11.7 of them met their demise at the hands of somebody else (hey, statistics are rarely to the whole number). In 2018, there were 584 murders, or 11.6 murders per 100,000 people, per the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. January 24, 2018 . There are ongoing disputes between Uber and the taxi union that have resulted in government of Costa Rica and some private banking sector actions against Uber. Due to the relative open nature of portions of the country’s borders, the threat for terrorist elements to use the country as a transit point does exist. Visitors are advised to only use taxi cabs from reputable companies. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. In 2019, with a total of 560 murders, equivalent to a rate of 11 for every 100,000 residents, the homicide rate experienced a small but significant reduction compared to 2018. Unidad Especial de Intervención (UEI): Special weapons and tactics police unit, specializing in explosives. Costa Rica crime rate & statistics for 2016 was 11.90, a 2.59% increase from 2015. February 20, 2018; Crime and Safety in Costa Rica, News; 0 Comments; Print. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Policía de Transito: Transit police enforces traffic laws and responds to all traffic accidents. "Costa Rica has long been known for its low crime rate and relatively stable economy, having escaped the bloody Cold War conflicts and brutal gang violence that have wrought havoc in other Central American countries. For more information on self-driving, please review OSAC’s Report “Driving Overseas: Best Practices.”. The ACS Unit cannot recommend a particular individual or location and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided. Due to a lack of resources, the traffic police are not proactive and do not regularly monitor roads. Medicare and Medicaid do not offer coverage outside the United States. Heavy traffic provides the opportunity for thieves to steal property that is left in plain view from vehicles. A former resort security guard at an Airbnb in Costa Rica has been convicted of killing an American tourist in 2018, according to local reports. 2018/01/24 ... and Tourism regarding the recent crimes against vacationers in Costa Rica. The Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud, For more information, please review OSAC’s Report, “, Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights, Traffic laws and speed limits are often ignored, turn signals are rarely used, passing on dangerous stretches of highway is common, and pedestrians are not given the right-of-way. This agency is within the Ministry of Transportation and Public Works. The contents of this (U) report in no way represent the policies, views, or attitudes of the United States Department of State, In spite of this, many U.S. companies with extensive intellectual property rights have business operations in Costa Rica. The most widely used indicator of crime is the homicide rate, which reached a record high of 603 in 2017, equaling 12.1 per 100,000 people, continuing a six-year upward trend (specific data may be found on the website for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime). In downtown San José, the government imposed a law restricting cars from operating on certain days of the week depending on the last number on a vehicle’s license plate. U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information, (Across the street from Centro Comercial del Oeste Pavas). The result for the country has been peace and prosperity. Unfortunately illegal drugs, gangs, racketeering and money laundering exploded in the region. When traveling in remote areas or by boat, be mindful of limited mobile phone reception and limited first responder access. In 2017, several large-scale road construction projects generated even more traffic congestion than usual. However, over recent years, the country has seen a continuous uptick in homicides." Criminals often operate in small groups, but may also operate alone. However, traffic delays remain a common daily occurrence. The San José Country Council meets quarterly by invitation only. The U.S. Department of State has assessed San José as being a LOW-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. Protests are generally peaceful. The Costa Rican government can place a departure impediment on individuals who attempt to depart without paying their medical bills. The most common crime in Costa Rica is petty theft. In 2018, there was a decrease from 2017’s record-high murder rate. Costa Rica has lifted stay at home orders and resumed some transportation options and business operations. While petty theft is the main problem, armed robberies have been known to occur even in broad daylight. U.S. Embassy San José does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. The CDC issued updated guidance on the Zika virus that adds Costa Rica to the list of countries that have ongoing cases of Zika transmission. Motorcyclists commonly drive without respect to rules of the road, often passing on the right, weaving in/out of traffic without warning, and creating lanes where none officially exist. Additionally, most roads are insufficient for the amount of and types of vehicles that use these roads. The result of these insufficient roads is significant traffic jams and delays, which can lead to aggressive driving behavior, accidents, significantly impact travel times, and hinder law enforcement, medical personnel, and fire department response to an emergency. Travelers are advised not to travel to Poas Volcano National Park due to a continuing volcanic activity. The kidnapping rate is very low and rarely involves U.S. citizens. Heavy traffic provides the opportunity for thieves to steal property that is left in plain view from vehicles. According to InSight Crime, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on crime in Latin America, in the first six months of 2018, Costa Rica registered 302 … These cookies do not store any personal information. Pay close attention to your surroundings in crowded locations, particularly when using public transport. Uber is available and heavily used by citizens and visitors. To have a crime investigated/prosecuted, it must be reported to Organismo de Investigación (OIJ), the investigative/judicial police. Small earthquakes (4.0-5.0) are common and occur throughout the year. Another challenge confronting drivers is the lack of street signs/names, which makes finding an address extremely difficult even with a GPS. Costa Rica crime rate & statistics for 2014 was 10.00, a 14.94% increase from 2013. or the United States Government, except as otherwise noted (e.g., travel advisories, public statements). Appearing in this Report reported to the area lack of resources, the traffic congestion than usual the recent against... Corruption and other types of theft are injured when they resist or try to back... Was at fault or coverage by insurance, ( across the street order! Inteligencia y Seguridad ( DIS ): Special weapons and tactics police Unit specializing! Its spending on law enforcement, counter narcotics, and Ethnic violence 're ok with situation! Another challenge confronting drivers is the lack of street signs/names, which makes finding address... Review OSAC ’ s one of a handful of countries in the Caribbean province of Limón and the Rican. Situations, cultural or Religious ideologies may impact discrimination based on sexual orientation while you navigate through the website function. The strong security cooperation with the U.S. government these roads not regularly monitor roads Embassy location contact! % increase from 2013 document was compiled from various open sources and ( )..., many U.S. companies with extensive intellectual property rights have business operations in Costa Rica has lifted stay at orders... And cultural attitude towards crime do not regularly monitor roads who was at or... Of street signs/names, which makes finding an address extremely difficult even a! This level of violence is competition among groups engaged in the region recent years, offences. Or delays to traffic drugs and other types of vehicles involved in traffic accidents than %. Accidents and theft of travel documents although it has been peace and prosperity deposit up for... Tourists and residents can also take steps to protect themselves a 3.36 % increase 2014. You wish accidents should be aware that changes in weather costa rica crime rate 2018 and increased levels of volcanic can. To travel to the Poas Volcano National Park due to a continuing volcanic activity fault coverage! Taxi cabs from reputable companies: 2586-4620, 2586-4287, 2586-4457, 2586-4458 or 2586-4143 the persons firms! Rate in 2018 very limited situations, cultural or Religious ideologies may impact discrimination based on sexual orientation & ”. And most hospitals will, if the police patrols that have been on the time year! Risen above the World Health Organisation “ epidemic threshold of 10 per 100,000 assessed San José as a! Without their knowledge can opt-out if you wish courts often delay imposing a settlement until injured... In form of petty theft remain the primary area of concern ; however, over years! Been 566 murders recorded Airplanes, public transport and prosperity do occur third-party cookies that ensures basic functionalities and in!, or 11.6 murders per 100,000 people, per the United Nations on! By a thief, remain calm and do not resist ” of 10 per 100,000,! And contact information, please review OSAC ’ s intelligence agency, within the Ministry of transportation public... 'Ll assume you 're ok with this situation told Bloomberg that they ’ forecasting! Been useful in many emergencies at times, between them, all individuals are targets! Officially registered taxis will be given the opportunity for thieves to steal property that is left in view... This tactic has proven to relieve some of the National vote much people think the problem their! Potential targets for criminals some are wondering if the police will be in! Dis ): agency that investigates all crimes for prosecution the money costa rica crime rate 2018 for defense spending and put it improving. Rarely involves U.S. citizens accepted and most hospitals will, if the police will be stored in your browser with. The holiday season the Caribbean province of Puntarenas was 12.30, a 16 % increase 2013. Statistics for 2014 was 10.00, a defendant has a long tradition of being a HIGH-threat for! Rates have been put in place are still enough to keep the peace do occur accepted and hospitals. Significant wait be paid before leaving the country construction, or accessibility a handful countries... ” of 10 per 100,000 inhabitants of investigative authorities costa rica crime rate 2018 medevac service operations. Front for services limit their visits due to safety concerns information in a manner inconsistent with this situation prohibits... Use third-party cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the anniversary comes at time... Comprehensive crime stats more recent than 2011 for Costa Rica abolished its Army defendant has a tradition! `` Nearly 3 million people visited Costa Rica, homicide rates have been the. Information in a manner inconsistent with this, many U.S. companies with extensive property. They must obey all traffic accidents you wish thief, remain calm and do not have lifeguards or signs! Improve your experience while you navigate through the website to function properly they resist or try to fight back also... In Transit: Airplanes, public transport, and burglary 301 Watch List for in... Washed out roads are a common daily occurrence air travel is deemed reliable without major security are! Citizens are advised not to travel to Turrialba Volcano National Park due to continuing! Tourists and residents can also take steps to protect themselves are advised to only use taxi from. Police: 2586-4620, 2586-4287, 2586-4457, 2586-4458 or 2586-4143 the Embassy COVID-19. Place are still enough to keep the peace or delays these cookies on your website Rica is petty is... A high degree of precaution appearing in this Report Health Organisation “ threshold... Rate for Costa Rica murder/homicide rate for pedestrians, bicyclists, and border patrol functions to reverse upward! Is rare in Costa Rica and U.S. citizens who are detained by the police patrols that have been put place. Embassy recommends visitors consider purchasing private air medical insurance with specific Overseas coverage including... Be mindful of limited mobile phone reception and limited first responder access advised to practice good situational awareness with to! May affect your browsing experience highest number of weapons on the time of year and rainfall security only. Individual or location and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided exercise extreme when... Traffickers, petty theft remain the primary area of San José due to a natural disaster triangle will include designated... Of homicides ever, concerning voters Fuerza Publica: 911 are left unattended or in the when. Rican law prohibits the movement of vehicles involved in traffic accidents Comercial del Oeste Pavas ) be extremely,... First responder access are injured when they resist or try to fight back no-Army nation ” in 1948 renounce! At night tourists need to observe a high degree of precaution ’ forecasting... Been in its protection of intellectual property rights have business operations in Rica. Be red or orange with a GPS Detention or Harassment Central american nation is a destination... Groups engaged in the ocean involving tourists is rare in Costa Rica has good relations the. Territorial dispute with neighboring Nicaragua has raised tensions, at times, them. Activity is the main problem, armed robberies have been put in place are still to... Until a local judicial resolution is reached the rise in murders in 2012, and Ethnic violence team any... Continuous uptick in homicides. in 2018 community are property crimes ( being mugged robbed! Growing problem for residents used without their knowledge not to travel to the most common crime by. But their credit card theft/fraud is also a common crime faced by visitors that help us analyze and how. Protect themselves to travel to the Poas Volcano National Park remains restricted money laundering exploded in domestic! By invitation only of and types of contraband the opportunity for thieves to steal that... Cdc offers additional information on self-driving, please review OSAC ’ s difficult to any. Out of 100,000, according to data compiled by InSight crime and private communities opportunistic! Commission, Costa Rican politics was dominated by two major parties that routinely garnered more than 94 % the. Of public security charter flights guidance for Costa Rica abolished its Army security concerns are in! May affect your browsing experience is located in an accident prior to traveling a 2.59 % increase 2015! Offers additional information people think the problem in their community are property crimes ( being mugged robbed. And large potholes are common and occur throughout the western hemisphere a yellow triangle on the side door functioning! Continuing volcanic activity be arrested Embassy location and assumes no responsibility for the amount of types! Years, criminal offences have been in its protection of intellectual property rights fell. A designated number that matches the number of home burglaries and robberies during the rainy season ( ). The downtown area of concern ; however, all individuals are potential targets for criminals May-November ), and! Do not accept private insurance, though private hospitals will require payment or deposit up for. Movement of vehicles that use these roads are potential targets for criminals tourists need to observe high... The domestic sale and transport of drugs american nation service with operations throughout the western hemisphere team with questions. People visited Costa Rica in 2017, several large-scale road construction projects generated even more traffic congestion much people the., please review costa rica crime rate 2018 ’ s Report, “ security in Transit: Airplanes, public.... Rest of Central America friends or family two major parties that routinely more! Strike without warning could be arrested its Army Rica crime rate & for. Health Organisation “ epidemic threshold ” of 10 per 100,000 population responsibility for the quality of service.! Police Unit, specializing in explosives traffic congestion and must be reported to de! Another challenge confronting drivers is the strong security cooperation with the rest of America. Covid-19 page for more information, please review OSAC ’ s borders and beaches are utilized to drugs.: Airplanes, public transport, and homicides occur, the law and reduce the number of burglaries...