QCOSTARICA – Luis Ávila, the deputy director of the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) – judicial investigation police – told the Diario Extra we live in a country of peace, despite the 477 homicides in 2014 and the 423 so far this year, seven of the bloodiest in the past week alone.
“Our country has not stopped being the Switzerland of Central America, on a regional level we have better conditions, including for investment. We must ensure that we remain effective as a country of peace, democracy and continue to be the happiest,” said Avila.
The OIJ deputy director, who is currently the acting head of the OIJ while a new chief appointment is being sought, added that we cannot compare ourselves with the other Central American countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, called the “triangle of death”, where there has been an increased concern among its citizens and authorities for the increase in killings.
“We are far from reaching the level of violence in those countries,” said Avila.
The interim chief of the Judicial Police says he has faith that crimes will subside, but it won’t happen if the police doesn’t increase their efforts.
“According to projections based on the information by the Oficina de Planes y Operaciones (OPO) – office of plans and operations – there is talk of ending the year with between 520 and 530 homicides. We are making inroads in troubled sectors of the country, where 165 homicides are director related and another 99 possibly linked to drug trafficking,” said Avila.
Avila stressed that “everything is under control”.
But the numbers of killings are backing up that claim.
The OIJ chief says it is important to have clearer laws for money laundering, accepting that Costa Rica has gone from a “bridge” to “warehouse” for drug traffickers and that drug trafficking and the crimes related to it are problem throughout the region.