HomeNewsBriefViolence in Costa Rica at All-Time High
BRIEF

Violence in Costa Rica at All-Time High

COSTA RICA / 5 JAN 2016 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

Homicides reached historic levels during the past year in Costa Rica, forcing authorities to look for new ways to counteract the surge in violence. 

Statistics from Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Department (OIJ) show that 2015 was the country's most violent year on record, reported La Nación

The discovery of two charred bodies on December 31 brought the total number of homicides in 2015 to 558, with the majority believed to be linked to organized crime. This represents a substantial increase from murder totals of 407 in 2012 and 474 in 2014.

Meanwhile, Vice Minister of Security María Fullmen announced this week that the government would continue working to disrupt street-level drug trafficking operations, reported Prensa Libre

"We are in the best position to reinforce areas that have had the most problems due to organized crime," Fullmen said. 

A specialized police force was launched by the government in October 2015 to combat local drug trafficking organizations. According to a report in QCostaRica, the Special Operations Force is made up of 500 law enforcement officers and is now leading on-the-ground efforts to disrupt criminal groups in urban areas across the country, including the most conflict-ridden areas of capital city San José.

InSight Crime Analysis

Long regarded as a haven from the extreme violence of the Northern Triangle region (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras), Costa Rica has had to respond to a significant increase in criminal activity within its borders. 

While Costa Rica's homicide levels remain relatively low compared to some of its Central American neighbors, officials are searching for ways to slow the violence. In addition to the anti-crime operation launched in October, Security Minister Gustavo Mata has repeatedly called for an increase in the number of prosecutors at the Organized Crime Unit of the Public Ministry and for the creation of an investigative unit to be integrated across several ministries. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Costa Rica

Whether these actions will be enough remains unclear, as both domestic and international drug trafficking organizations appear to be increasing their operations in the country. Indeed, Deputy Chief of the Public Ministry Celsa Gamboa recently stated that criminal groups have the country "on its knees and in a blood bath, to which Costa Rica has never been accustomed."

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BRAZIL / 28 MAY 2021

Court cases. Hitmen. Interpol. International drug traffickers sometimes need to get away from it all. Brazil has sought to cater…

DISPLACEMENT / 2 JUN 2021

The number of displaced people within Mexico has increased for the first time in three years, indicating that the country's…

DRUG POLICY / 20 MAY 2022

A spate of gang-related killings has caused panic in a marginalized area of Uruguay’s capital of Montevideo, raising debate about…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…