OIJ on homicides: “this has no quick chance of ending”

"We are on a path that will probably continue for many years ... (to end it) it depends on the actions of people who commit criminal acts," says Walter Espinoza, director of the OIJ


Not very comforting. Although the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) expects there will be a decrease in homicides with respect to last year, its director, director Wálter Espinoza, states that the problem is far from over.

Judicial police data indicate that in the last 2 weeks 43 people died in homicides, many shot at by ‘gatilleros’ (gunmen) inside a car, like the most recent, the double murder on Tuesday in Alajuelita.

The numbers shook the country and staggered national security.


The problem is linked mostly to disputes over drugs as the high consumption and level of trafficking in the country, within the borders and out, causes a “commercial” war between rivals, where at stake are millions of dollars of illegal profits.

“We are not pessimistic. We believe that there will be a reduction, but it depends on the actions of people who commit criminal acts and maintain monopolies on drug sales.

“We are on a path that will probably continue for many years, because this has no quick chance of ending and that is the daily work of the police. We hope that as time goes by there will be a reduction,” said Espinoza.

Walter Espinoza, director of the OIJ.

They don’t care

The OIJ chief explained that the gunmen are young, between 18 and 24 years old and that they have been incorporated into a gang since adolescents. The sicarios (hitmen) – experienced or not – do not care about anything to commit the crime.

Espinoza explained that those belonging to criminal organizations, in general, made the decision to participate in illegal activity, do not choose the times or places, they just act. “They don’t care about collateral damage,” he said.

Espinoza said that these types of homicides are difficult to prevent, as they arise suddenly. The crimes are not planned, decisions are made in a criminal environment not privy by the police.

“The situation is not simple, this situation arises in an unplanned way, they arise in the darkness of the underworld, that occur amid threats, disputes that are very difficult to be known by the police,” he expressed.

So far this year, there have been 384 homicides. Numbers similar to those of the last two years.

For the director, the State must try to reduce the rates of violence and create an environment that makes it less attractive for the criminals.

As Espinoza explains it, there is a common denominator in most cases: motorcycles and young men. In addition, they camouflage themselves such as food deliveries, not raising suspicion before and after the act.

Regional crisis

Espinoza insisted that these types of events cannot be analyzed by country, but rather to seen from the regional context. He said only South Africa has the degree of homicides like that of our region.

In addition, he said there are many situations of high consumption of drugs, weapons, gangs and labor problems that affect the country.

“We have a serious drug problem throughout the country. It is a regional reality. This is a transnational trade. The problem of drug trafficking exists worldwide and here there is a serious problem of drug sales,” he said.