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If the trend continues, 2016 could be another record year, beating out the 566 homicides recorded in 2015

QCOSTARICA – The second Sunday of the year left four dead and four wounded in separate incidents, in Goicoechea, San Rafael de Heredia, San José and Guácimo.

The most bloody was in Ipis de Goicoechea (a highly conflictive area on the east side of San Jose), when minutes before midnight, several men opened fire with a machine gun on a parked car, with five people in it. One dead and four with serious wounds in hospital, according to the press office of the Ministerio de Seguridad Publica.

In San Rafael de Heredia, a dispute between two men left one dead, 28 year-old Jonathan Rojias Orias, shot in the neck and chest. The Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) – police – theorize the dispute was over a woman and not drug related.

In barrio San Cristobal, in Guacimo, Limon, two men travelling on a motorcycle fired on 25 year-old Mayron Ezequiel Urbina, walking with his pregnant wife. According to the police report, the couple were walking to a medical appointment, when they were fired upon by the assailants. Ezequiel died from a gunshot wound to the stomach, the woman was unhurt.

The day Sunday started with the murder in Finca San Juan de Pavas resulting from a quarrel between two men, who pulling a knife and stabbing the victim in the neck. The Mounted Police caught up with the killer in La Sabana park. The man, identified as Rivas Garcia, admitted to the killing.

The random acts of violence has many worried. Although authorities assure that most of the violence is either gang or drug related, many worry about being at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

In general, if one avoids areas like Lomas de Pavas (the west of the Pavas, past the Maseca plant); La Carpio in La Uruca; Leon XIII; and Ipis de Goicoechea you should be OK. But, many other areas in Desamparados, Alajuelita and Tibas have been scenes of bloody battles between gangs. Even in tranquil areas like Santa Ana, Escazu and Curridabat, violence resulting from settling of scores are shed blood.

Authorities are working on establishing an anti-gang / anti-mafia crime fighting unit, which should reduce the bloodshed.

Last year, 2015, the country recorded the highest number ever of murders, 566.  If the bloodshed is not curbed soon, the way 2016 is shaping up, could be another record year.