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Crime in San Jose? Take Care!

December 18th, 2007

I just HATE to write these kinds of posts. I know how blogs like mine can and do affect tourism. On the other hand, if the country continues to not support those branches of government charged with protecting the people… well then so be it. They cannot expect good press about bad situations. Perhaps the loss of tourist dollars will get them off their collective traseros!

I live here and I love this country so to write something bad just makes me very sad. Here again though, I must write about the crime that is causing serious issues in San Jose, the capital. Please note I am not writing about the whole country, just San Jose…  but for now, I must caution my readers to be very cautious if they must drive in San Jose, especially the downtown area.

The bad guys are winning.


To be clear, this post is about the theft of cars and the break-ins to cars left unattended. Especially violent thefts.  Those who travel via taxi, while certainly needing to be constantly alert, are not so affected.

In yesterday’s La Nacion, Costa Rica’s largest newspaper, there is an article about the breaking into and stealing of vehicles in San Jose. From January through November 2007, about 2,200 were stolen. That is one about every seven hours.

If you broaden the area to include the entire province of San Jose, 16 persons daily are victims, and many of those (786 according to the article) are subjected to violence. These figures include breaking windows and other crimes not directcted at the driver. While the actual numbers of these crimes is not increasing, the percentage of violent episodes is way up!

Now to me, this is just crazy. Costa Rica depends on tourism and not a few tourists like to visit the capital. The Teatro Nacional, Gold Museum and many other places are certainly worth a visit. Of course many tourists never visit San Jose, preferring the volcanoes, mountains and beaches, but still, the country just has to do something.

The Director of the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ), Jorge Rojas, is seen at least weekly on local TV stating this is just getting out of control and begging for money to hire and train more officers. It appears to me that he is being studiously ignored by the government. If Costa Rica does not belly up and deal decisively with this problem, tourism will fall off and the cost then to add officers will be an even more serious problem.

One of the companies that I own deals with tourists and many times I must meet people at the airport. There are about 50 guys who work the airport, carrying luggage, helping visitors. This does not include the myriad of drivers looking to ferry folks to Jaco, Arenal, etc. I know them all. Everyone is complaining about how tourism is seemingly falling off. They blame the recent devaluation of the dollar, which is nonsense! Nobody is going to cancel a trip because of that. But I DO think that Costa Rica is gaining some international repute as a country where there exists violence. This (and really stupid things like requiring kids to have passports) is what I think is the real issue. The new tourist police force may be a step, but the crimes against Costa Ricans are at least as serious as those too make the news.

I sure hope someone high up (Don Oscar?) is listening as this needs to be addressed now.


101 Responses to “Crime in San Jose? Take Care!”

  1. Tim on March 9, 2009 2:17 pm

    Well that just about sums it up doesn’t it? Use good common sense and you probably will never have an issue. In fact, I am going to close comments as really, nothing is being added. Costa Rica is a safe or unsafe as any US city. There will always be horror stories and always be tales like Bob’s.

    Tim

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