A.M. Costa Rica
Your daily English-language news source , Monday through Friday

San José, Costa Rica            Tuesday Edition,  January 16, 2018             Vol. 18,  No.116

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More than a thousand foreigners
were victims of crime in five years

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A total of 1,056 foreigners were victims of assaults and robberies in Costa Rica during the last 5 years.

The figures come from the Criminal Analysis Unit of the Office of Plans and Operations of the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ). On average, 200 foreign tourists per year file complaints as victims of crime.

“2015 was the year with the lowest number of cases, but since then there has been an upward trend," said David Pérez, a criminal analyst of the OIJ.

The judicial police say that in most cases the crimes were committed with a firearm or use of a knife.

"For us, as the police, a single attack that occurs in any modality is a topic to be addressed. It does not matter if we are talking about 200, 50 or 10, it is a topic of interest, "said Juan José Andrade, director of the Fuerza Pública, the state's police

Last week, the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur) announced that the Costa Rican Association of Auto Renters reached a historic record of thefts from tourists by "pinchonazos."  “Pinchazos” are thieves who damage the tires of the rental cars and wait for the drivers to exit the vehicles. Once the car door is open, the “pinchazo” robs the driver. 

"We must have a greater awareness at the level of public officials and private entrepreneurs and we must apply preventive and corrective actions to improve the safety of tourists in the country," said Isabel Vargas, president of Canatur.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
  The rise in crime against foreigners and tourists concerns the Costa Rican Chamber of Tourism.

However, for Víctor Ramírez, head of Tourist Service of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), Costa Rica continues to be a safe destination and in the last 11 years a coordinated effort has been made to reduce crime.

During 2017 there were 204 robberies. From highest to lowest, the cantons with more cases are Cahuita: 37, Merced: 21, Quepos 21; Bahía Ballena: 14; Cathedral: 14; Carmen: 12; San Pedro; 8; Cóbano: 6; Hospital: 6.

More Costa Ricans are becoming
disenchanted with democracy

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Ticos have decreased their love of democracy as form of government, according to a study conducted by the Latinobarómetro corporation. The study was conducted in 2015 in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program and the Inter-American Development Bank.

According to the research, support for democracy fell from 80.3% in 1996, to 56.8%, in 2015.

This result challenges the fact that Costa Rica is positioned as the most democratic nation in Latin America, according to a 2015 report by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EUI) and carried out for the BBC.

The Latinobarometro document stressed that Latin America is, "incapable," of progressing in democratization, with only two countries being able to achieve this goal: Uruguay and Costa Rica, which qualify as full democracies.

In spite of this, Costa Ricans have reduced support for democracy.

Regarding the upcoming electoral process, the latest survey by Opol Consultores for the Spanish paper El Mundo, showed that 28.2% of those interviewed remain undecided as to whether they will vote and what candidate they will support.

Another 18.3% have completely discarded the idea of participating in the presidential and legislative elections of February 4.

  A.M. Costa Rica archive photo
Despite having a strong democratic institutionality, one-fifth of Ticos indifferent to their form of government, the study says.

The Latinobarómetro data also highlights the idea that the Costa Rican population is indifferent to whether it has a democratic government regime or an authoritarian regime. That lack of interest grew from 8% in 1996 to 20.2%  in  2015.

Meanwhile, the degree of dissatisfaction with democracy went from 43.7% in 1996 to 51.5% in 2015.

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