Despite the fact that the homicides have worried the population and authorities in the country, Costa Rica is the second with the least violence in Central America, only behind Panama.

Michael Soto, Costa Rica’s Minister of Security

The data was announced at the XIV Central American Security Conference (XIV Conferencia de Seguridad Centroamericana) in Honduras, which was attended by Security Minister Michael Soto to grab praise from other Central American countries that also had good results in the fight against crime.

The meeting was also attended by the Security and Defense Ministers of the region, including Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador; Military personnel from Mexico and an admiral from the United States Southern Command, as well as representatives from Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia.

During the conference, specialists gave figures of homicides in the countries of the region.

For Costa Rica, the worst year of all was 2017, closing the year with 603 homicides, the highest figure in the history of the country.

While last year there was a small respite as violent deaths dropped to 586.

 

The head of the United States South Command, Admiral Craig Faller, warned today that “gangs and other criminal groups pose a real and serious threat to every country in the region.”

“Honduras has a figure of 38 homicides per hundred thousand inhabitants; Guatemala has 22 for every one hundred thousand inhabitants and El Salvador 51. In our case we have 11.7 for every one hundred thousand inhabitants and Panama 9.6,” explained the Tico minister.

 

Although the figures are quite high and concern authorities, the work of recent years has allowed reducing violent deaths. In 2016, the homicide figure in Honduras was 59.1 per one hundred thousand inhabitants; in Guatemala it was 23.7, in El Salvador 91.2, in Costa Rica it was 11.8, in Panama it was 10, indicating that the homicides are down.

“Basically what we are doing is analyzing the security strategies in the region, what was done during the previous year and what are the strategies we are going to carry out for next year,” said Soto.

 

Helicopters recently donated by the US to Costa Rica to combat drug trafficking

“Next year we will all be focused on the issue of drug trafficking with maritime, air and land operations; We are also going to work on trafficking in persons and arms trafficking,” he added.

 

In an interview the El Heraldo newspaper of Honduras, Soto highlighted social work among Costa Rica’s actions to strengthen the fight against crime, something that, for him, differentiates us from the other nations in Central America.

“I lean towards two lines, one has to do with human development; the more a society is developed, more employment, culture, sport, and good infrastructure, that will reduce the rates of violence and crime, I think that has been part of the success that Costa Rica has had.

“In the case of the northern triangle (refers to the three Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) due to historical circumstances, development has been a bit slower. If we achieve that these two aspects are parallel, I assure you that the security conditions of any country will improve a lot,” said the minister.


Stay up to date with the latest stories by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on Facebook.