QCOSTARICA — With the aim of mitigating the incidence of organized crime and drug trafficking, legislators approved ¢20 billion colones more for next year to the different police forces.
The decision followed an analysis by legislators of the Treasury Commission of the 2024 budget for 2024. The decision has to be ratified by the full Legislative Assembly which have to be ratified by the plenary session.
In principle, ¢8 billion will be for the Ministry of Public Security to create openings for 300 more police officers and finance travel expenses, fuel, clothing and transportation equipment.
Likewise, the Judiciary will have an additional ¢6 billion for the hiring of new judges, prosecutors and defenders.
The Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OI) will also ¢6 billion more to create openings for 261 agents to carry out criminal investigations.
If the current homicide average is maintained, at the end of 2023, Costa Rica will close with a record number of 898 murders in a year.
This is an increase of 37% compared to last year, when a historical record of 656 cases was also recorded.
On average, Costa Rica currently registers a homicide every 12 hours, according to OIJ data.
“It is a worrying figure and, as such, we are busy. We have been doing in-depth work in each of the cases to try to find strategies and links between criminal gangs. Unfortunately, the issue of violence in the country is at one of its most complicated times in history.
“It is possible that this year we will be at around 900 cases, with an incident rate of 18 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. We are not going to give up, we are going to continue working to find strategies. It is a complex issue because the causes are multiple,” said Michael Soto, who was Minister of Public Security in the previous administration (2018-2022), returning to the OIJ, where is currently assistant director.
“Costa Rica has been breaking its homicide record year after year and sadly 2023 is no exception. There are no magic, short-term answers that can reverse this trend. Realistic responses start from the organization and provision of police resources (…),” said the current Minister of Public Security, Mario Zamora.
Zamora, who served as Minister of Publica Security between 2011 and 2014, was brought in by President Rodrigo Chaves, replacing Jorge Torres last May, to combat the increased wave of violence between members of drug trafficking gangs, fighting for territory and drug routes.