U.S. citizens who are detained by the police will be given the opportunity to contact friends or family. Additionally, murder and sexual assault have also been types of crime that have been committed against tourists. U.S. Embassy San José does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. This agency is within the Poder Judicial (judicial branch). Cases of Arancha Gutiérrez and María Trinidad Mathus, both occurring in August 2018, are the most recent examples of t… Costa Rica has seen a rise in murders in 2012, and a record 603 people were killed in 2017. 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. Over the last several years, criminal offences have been on the rise. 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. Small earthquakes (4.0-5.0) are common and occur throughout the year. Uber is available and heavily used by citizens and visitors. The country has not had a military since 1948 and prides itself on its peaceful nature and efforts to maintain neutrality. Many victims maintain physical possession of their cards, but their credit card information is stolen and later used without their knowledge. 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. “Crime is increasing in Costa Rica and U.S. citizens are frequent victims. However, there are dangers that come with such destinations – mostly in the form of pickpockets and petty theft such as purse snatching, armed robberies, and carjacking, so tourists should exercise caution. Protests are generally peaceful. Tourist Police: 2586-4620, 2586-4287, 2586-4457, 2586-4458 or 2586-4143. The recent accomplishments in Costa Rica’s counter-narcotics programs can partially be attributed to the improvements in equipment, training, and infrastructure achieved in cooperation with the U.S. government. Costa Rica’s strategic location, unevenly-monitored borders, limited security forces, and thinly-patrolled waters make it a major transit and temporary storage country for illicit drugs. Unidad Especial de Intervención (UEI): Special weapons and tactics police unit, specializing in explosives. For more information on ride-sharing, please review OSAC’s Annual Briefing Report “Safety and Security in the Share Economy.”. 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). Those involved in traffic accidents should be prepared for a significant wait. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Unfortunately illegal drugs, gangs, racketeering and money laundering exploded in the region. January 24, 2018 . Credit card theft/fraud is also a common crime faced by visitors. Travelers can access the, Costa Rican National Emergency Commission, Costa Rican Volcanic and Seismic Observatory. 2017 came with the highest number of homicides ever, concerning voters. 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. In recent years, the average annual amount of fine particle pollution in the greater metropolitan area ranged between 22-25 micrograms per cubic meter, more than double the recommended level set by the World Health Organization (WHO). Visitors are advised to only use taxi cabs from reputable companies. This tactic has proven to relieve some of the traffic congestion. According to FBI crime statistics, Chicago, which has a population roughly the same as Costa Rica, saw its homicide rate in 2017 hover at 24.1, while San Juan, Puerto Rico's homicide rate … Both Costa Rican nationals and third-country nationals participate in organized crime: car theft rings, drug traffickers, petty theft, and burglary. There are multiple smaller airports and airstrips serviced by small domestic carriers and a charter flights. The majority of kidnappings are a result of feuds between rival criminal organizations. Costa Rica wants to reform the law and reduce the number of weapons on the street in order to decrease the alarming crime rate. However, all protests should be avoided as a safety precaution and to avoid any perception of interfering in local politics. Those detained by law enforcement should immediately contact the U.S. Embassy at 2519-2000. "Nearly 3 million people visited Costa Rica in 2017, and overall they spent $3.87 billion during their stay." Travelers should exercise extreme caution when swimming in the ocean. The downtown area of San José is a tourist destination during daylight hours. 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. Meanwhile, authorities told Bloomberg that they’re forecasting an even higher number in 2018. This weakness is compounded by the general instability of party support and increased split-… 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. It’s one of a handful of countries in the region without a military. Public hospitals generally do not accept private insurance, though private hospitals will, if the plan includes suitable coverage for care while abroad. The main factor driving this level of violence is competition among groups engaged in the domestic sale and transport of drugs. The majority of kidnappings are a result of feuds between rival criminal organizations. In 2018, with 585 victims, Costa Rica managed to reverse the upward trend and the homicide rate fell to 11.7. otherwise distributing OSAC-derived information in a manner inconsistent with this policy may result in the discontinuation of OSAC support. After dark, visitors are cautioned to be aware of their surroundings or limit their visits due to increased crime potential. The local authorities face problems when trying to deal with this situation. However, traffic delays remain a common daily occurrence. The homicide rate as of 2017 was 12.1 out of 100,000, according to data compiled by InSight Crime. 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. While petty theft is the main problem, armed robberies have been known to occur even in broad daylight. Therefore, visitors to Costa Rica are strongly encouraged to review their insurance plans to guarantee coverage in the event of an emergency during travel. But now drug-traffickers have their eye on this once-tranquil territory and crime rates are on the rise. 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). But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. 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. American tourists and residents can also take steps to protect themselves. As a result, travelers may be prohibited from leaving the country until a local judicial resolution is reached. Heavy traffic provides the opportunity for thieves to steal property that is left in plain view from vehicles. Most thefts occur when cars are left unattended or in the evenings when people are walking alone in the dark. 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. This agency is within the Ministry of Transportation and Public Works. Fuerza Publica: Uniformed police agency. The main factor driving this level of violence is competition among local groups engaged in … Violent crime involving tourists is rare in Costa Rica but it’s a serious and rapidly growing problem for residents. 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). This is true regardless of who was at fault or coverage by insurance. Access to the Poas Volcano National Park remains restricted. 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