Friday, February 17, 2012

Costa Rica: Survey Reveals One in Five Residents a Victim of Crime

In what can only be described as a sad indicator of the challenge that Costa Rica faces today, The Tico Times has reported the results of a National Statistics and Census Institute home survey that reveals that one in every five families was a victim of violence from July 2009 to July 2010.

The results of this survey were originally reported in the daily, La Nación.

COMMENT: The survey polled more than 1.2 million homes nationwide and discovered that 255,000 of the respondents had been crime victims. Of those offenses, 36.4% were violent crimes (i.e., armed robbery, carjacking, home invasion, etc.). Some 76,000 victims were robbed in their homes.

The survey also revealed that the majority of crimes occurred in the Central Valley and on the Atlantic coast. FYI: The Central Valley houses almost three quarters of Costa Ricans, and includes the capital and most populous city, San José. The valley is shared among the provinces of Alajuela, Heredia, San José and Cartago.

It has only been in recent years, since 2000, for example, that crime has dramatically escalated in Costa Rica. Most victims are Costa Rican, although increasingly foreigners are targeted because of their possessions and perceived wealth.

Unfortunately, crimes of violence are on the rise, yet the government seems unable or unwilling to take the necessary steps to neutralize it. Sadly, numerous foreigners have disappeared in Costa Rica with little success on the part of police to determine what happened to them.

And for the thousands of foreigners who live in or travel to Costa Rica, few are given any solace or quarter when they are victimized. If the government does not address the crime problem soon and effectively, the country's luster for being a haven for tourists will soon dissipate.

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