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Crime in Costa Rica

Crime in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a safe country. Here’s why:

Numbeo did a study in 2020 where Costa Rica got 45/100 points in safety making it relatively secure out of 133 analyzed countries. Also, Costa Rica’s numbers didn’t change between 2019 and 2020 so the country didn’t have any rise in crime.

 There are some places in Costa Rica that you might want to avoid. 


According to La Nación, Limón city has the most violent and insecure index in Costa Rica. Following is San José downtown, Pococí, Matina and Talamanca.

In San José it is common to see vehicle and house burglary, homicides and street robbery.

On the other hand, Guanacaste in general is safer with a lower index of violence. 

Urban delinquency is an everyday problem. Cities are facing a high rate of insecurity. Criminals often work by themselves or in small groups.


Tourism and Crime in Costa Rica

Some common scenarios where tourists are vulnerable:

  • Not closing the Hotel doors properly.
  • Carelesness habits with backpacks, fanny packs, wallets, ect,  while being on the streets.
  • Parking lots with tourist buses can be targets of theft.
  • Attending the restroom while leaving your luggage unattended.
  • Placing important objects in the bus luggage racks.
  • Carrying electronic devices in plain sight.


Homicides in Costa Rica

The following graphic shows the number of homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in Costa Rica between 2014 and 2021

Coming next, we can see that there is more men dying than women in Costa Rica due to homicides. This can be due to hostility between gangs , the so-called “Ajuste de cuentas” (Settle a Score).

Femicides in Costa Rica

We have ups and downs with Femicides. Through different campaigns, Costa Rica have tried to stop these kind of horrible acts.


There is types of femicides in this country

  1. Femicide: Homicides where the victim is a female and lost her life for being a girl or a woman. (orange in the graphic).
  2. Amplified Femicide: Is a femicide where the killer is actually a husband, romantic partner or a boyfriend. (blue in the graphic).


Let’s see the behavior in a graphic from 2007 to 2021, where you can see that the vast majority are for the second type of femicide. 

Meanwhile, during 2020, sexual crimes represented 5.3% of the overall formal complaints, according to the Ministerio de Justicia, it is the 4th biggest problematic that threatens security in Costa Rica. The first 3 are:

  1. Crimes against private property 44.7%
  2. Domestic violence 11.78%
  3. Violent crimes 8.9%


Burglary in Costa Rica

The UCR Statistics show that in 2020, burglary and robbery have been decreasing by 23% in comparison to 2019 (a difference of almost 20.000 per year). 


Vehicle robbery is also lower, passing from 4.537 in 2019 to 2.879 in 2020. 


Something you need to be very careful with is Fraud. This because Costa Rica needs reinforcement in technology laws and protection. So Do Not provide any personal information if it’s not completely safe.


In general, if you come to Costa Rica, you need to be aware of your surroundings but not afraid to enjoy the beauty of this country. 



Karen Ebanks

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