Although they are aware of the country’s complicated situation regarding (police) resources,  judicial authorities are clamoring for the government not to neglect or reduce security budgets, as tourism and foreign investment would be impacted.

The OIJ is the judicial investigative arm of the Ministry of Security. It handles some 100,000 cases annually

In fact, both factors are considered as pillars that go hand in hand as crime directly affects foreign investment and tourist visits. These 2 activities give the country almost US$7 billion in annual profits.

In the study called “Reporte de situación Costa Rica 2018” (Situation Report Costa Rica 2018), the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) places as one of its challenges, the importance of combating criminality in times of fiscal crisis and details the importance of maintaining investment in security for what it means for the country.

“Generally in times of economic constraint, it is decided to limit or cut social projects and programs, as well as prevention and criminal investigation,” the report states.

Recently, the director of the OIJ, Walter Espinoza, made public that a foreign company contacted the police and asked for safety indices to determine if investing in the country was a good option.

“The security issue means tranquility, the possibility of having fun and enjoying the country implies one of the most sources of funding from the State. If we neglect the tourism sector we will be affected. Companies that also invest can find a good environment,” said the OIJ chief.

Espinoza made it clear that when looking at the numbers with respect to the region, the Costa Rica data continues to be positive and says that “we are relatively good”.

The OIJ head stressed that “the issue of security is fundamental for the 3 million tourists who visit Costa Rica and generate a lot of foreign currency.”

The heads of the country’s security, Michael Soto, Minister of Security (left) and Walter Espinoza, director of the OIJ (right) have discussed the issue of needing more resources with the legislators

Economic impact

Judicial authorities point out that peace and social security, generated by the police forces, “positively affect the employment conditions offered by the country to domestic and foreign investors.”

“If Costa Rica were to have the crime rates of various countries in the region, the business climate would not be sustainable. The cost of not making investment in security matters is great, since the economic losses that may arise from the affectation of the international image of the country would harm according to data provided by the ICT in 2017, not only to 27% of the labor force, but also to jobs that depend on foreign investment,” the study argues.

Judicial authorities met recently with President Carlos Alvarado with the objective of requesting increased in the budget to be able to count on more resouces, such as hiring more officials, but to date they indicate, they have yet to receive a response from the president.