Firm ranks Costa Rica amongst safest countries in Latin America

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March 25th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Consulting firm, FTI Consulting has published its 2014 Latin America Security Index, ranking Costa Rica as the safest country in Central America and one of the safest countries in the whole of Latin America.

 

Of the 19 countries identified in this ranking, the Latin America Security Index finds that Venezuela, Honduras and Guatemala are the most dangerous countries in Latin America, while Costa Rica, Chile and Uruguay are the safest.

 

“Over the past decade, Latin America has mostly demonstrated strong economic growth with better integration, more commitment to the weakest social sectors and with more entrenched democratic governments,” said Frank L. Holder, Chairman of Latin America for FTI Consulting and author of the Latin America Security Index. “However, social mobility and inclusion has not eliminated the scourge of public insecurity. It remains, together with organized crime, money laundering, corruption and drug trafficking, paramount on regional government agendas.”

 

The Latin America Security Index provides “Danger Level” rankings from one to five, with one representing a very safe country and five representing a very dangerous country.

 

Costa Rica, along with Uruguay and Chile ranked as twos.  No country in Latin America received a “one” rating, representing a “very safe” country.

 

The report ranks neighboring Nicaragua as a “four,” while at the same time seeming to uphold a widely-held belief that Nicaragua is a safe country: “[Nicaragua] continues to maintain the lowest rate of insecurity in the ‘Triangle of Central America,’” the report states.

 

“However, [in Nicaragua] robberies with violence are high and increasing.  For example, in the first month of this year, violent crimes increased by 15% in comparison to the same month the prior year,” the report adds.

 

Regarding Costa Rica, the report said, “[The Costa Rican government] continues with its plan to professionalize the security forces and its investment in public safety prevention programs. The country continues to maintain lower crime rates than other neighboring countries, although it has not been completely isolated from their problems.”

 

FTI says the report is “based on official federal, provincial and municipal-level figures, concerning areas such as homicides, felonies, organized crime and drug trafficking, cargo and warehouse theft, home invasion, kidnapping, political and labor unrest, riots and violent demonstrations, as well as analyses of the effectiveness of government programs intended to address these problems.”

In general, the report highlights that organized crime and extreme violence surrounding the activities of drug cartels and the movement of drugs from production to consumer markets continues to be a major source of public insecurity in parts of Central America and Mexico. The Index notes that social and political unrest has become a factor for some of the more troubled economies, such as Venezuela.

 

Costa Rican Security Minister, Mario Zamora, was quick to express his satisfaction with Costa Rica’s ranking, adding that the Ministry of Public Security has been investing heavily in security, including uniforms, body armor, communication equipment, as well as modern and fast patrol boats.  The Ministry has also acquired more than 600 vehicles to enhance security throughout the country, Zamora said.

 

“[The ranking] will inevitably translate into better conditions for tourism and foreign investment,” Zamora said.

 

FTI Consulting has published the Latin America Security Index since 2007.

 

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  • Karen Mata

    I was ready to move back after reading this article (despite the Caja double taxing me on foreign earnings…thanks so much US state dept) until I read the next headline on human organ trafficking in CR.

  • roberto

    I wonder what the family of Kurt Hiegis thinks of the report.

    • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

      Do trust that we continue to be in contact with the Hiegis family, and continue working the case. We cannot elaborate further at the moment.

  • Chris Thomas

    what a huge lie this place is not safe, the whole place is like a fake diamond Fugazi looks nice but is fake and phony

    • john anthony

      Costa Rica as the safest country in Central America? What?? Is it their early April fools day joke? I left after 7 years because the crime there was getting out of hand, and the police doing nil about it. I was afraid going out at night, or back to my favorite bar, which got held up, heard how everyone was handing their phones and wallets over.” I was not there that night” I moved to Nicaragua, not as beautiful, but haven’t heard of no crime here in the 9 months I’ve lived here. Maybe some in Managua, the usual big city crime. Looks nice, but fake and phony is correct.

      • SarongGoddess

        I tend to AGREE with you John as I’ve been spending 2-3 months a year in Nicaragua (I’m in Matagalpa now for a month) & I tell ya – what I’m seeing & HEARING from people – NI seems WAYYYYYYYY SAFER than CR!!

        I have a feeling they’ve done this survey based on statistics from the government vs taking into consideration that VERY FEW people I know that have had crimes caused against them (& there have been MANY) – VERY few bother to report them – WHY BOTHER when RARELY is anything done to even catch let alone prosecute REAL criminals in CR!!!

        I’m actually REALLY worked up about this study as I’m getting SOOOO TIRED of the LIES that I keep hearing over & over & many people move here expecting one thing & getting another!! Don’t talk to me out the side of your ___ – tell me the TRUTH!!! EVEN if it’s not pretty!!

        Luckily I haven’t had much happen to me but I hear a LOT from people because of my big CR Info blog & my ability to get people to feel safe to tell me their DEEP TRUTHS!!

        • Chris Thomas

          I agree I have been all over Nicaragua from Rivas as far north as Somoto and Esteli and felt much safer people need to stop investing in Costa Rica, I spent last night in Tegucigalpa Honduras and felt the same way I feel when I walk around San Jose no worse really

        • Pesobill

          I agree , had friends live in Nica’ for 16 years , no worries . The big thing is Costa Ripoff has a HUGE tourism marketing machine to keep making everybody feel like it is the best place to live and visit .. Those of us who have been to CR know better , it sucked .

  • Chris Thomas

    One thing Costa Rica is excellent at is lying about the reports and statistics for example crime is much much higher most people do not report it why bother the police will do nothing, homicides are ruled as suicides or death by natural causes, immigration tourism stats are greatly inflated they count all the Nicaraguans coming to work, the Costa Rica government is one of the most corrupt on planet earth they are just great at marketing the country as something safe

    • Pesobill

      Big Amen — You are 100% right .

    • Luis Diego Campos

      Perhaps you havent read the article correctly. CR did not came up with this stadistic out of the blue or bribed this consulting firm however its a foreigner firm that provides useful data for vital purposes among diferent studies. And just imagine how much crime doesnt get report it on the other nations as well… These consulting firms have their tools to work out on these areas in order to get the nearest numbers, or perhaps you can personally go to their office and burn down their degrees kick them in the face and tell them what you know and how they should do their job….Maybe you can become the most powerful consulting man ever walk on earth.

      • Chris Thomas

        Mira Luis Costa Rica es uno de los paises mas corruptos del planeta bueno el gobierno los mira cuanta plata se roban los politicos hace poco la JPS se dejo el gordo navideño, si los ticos tuvieran huevos como el resto del mundo harian una revolucion y fusilaran un politico por mes por los robos, Costa Rica tiene la gasolina mas cara de centro america y las peores carreteras, yo he viajado muchos paises y le digo los ticos critican otras naciones pero no hay gobierno mas ladron y corrupto que el de Costa Rica cada dia va de mal en peor pero la gente es ciega con el tema de la paz, ahi no hay paz yo he vivido en Nicaragua y Colombia y Costa Rica y en San Jose me he sentido mas peligro que en las otras naciones latinas incluso Honduras vea este articulo en google just type Costa Rica no longer safe and read the wikileaks article.

        • Luis Diego Campos

          Si tus opiniones provienen de wikileaks pues estas leyendo la basura y mentira de el gobierto gringo, porque wikileaks es informacion proveniente de las embajadas sea secreta o no pero dirigida a otros diplomaticos pero normalmente si es de CR va dirigida a Washington. Quien escribio el cable? un diplomatico gringo! El es asessor en criminologia? NO! Los datos no son certeros ya que el crimen en CR tiene sus momentos de tope y otros momentos que llega a tener una baja tendencia igual que las enfermedades,clima,y accidentes automovilisticos. La taza de criminalidad en CR subio bastante pero jamas de lo jamas se puede comparar con el resto de Centroamerica un pillo que te roba la billetera no es igual a un marero que masacra a todos en un bus.. Centroamerica esta podrido en crimen pero aqui tenemos menos que los demas.

  • Ken Morris

    Yeah, at least as sketchily presented, this report is not especially convincing. El Salvador is strangely rated only 4, yet there is not even a paragraph blurb about that country, and Nicaragua gets a 4 (compared to Costa Rica’s 2) based upon the kind of temporary uptick in Nicaraguan crime that would seem to be a statistical anomaly. Without more methodological detail, it’s really hard to know what the facts are. Note, however, the the firm is forthright in claiming to be measuring government response to crime as well as crime, and with respect to Costa Rica observes: “The government continues with its plan to professionalize the security forces and its investment in public safety prevention programs.” Reading between the lines, Costa Rica is apparently getting bonus points for outfitting its cops with new 9 mm pistols and safety vests, buying new squad cars, etc., whether or not any of this affects the crime rate, which it probably doesn’t much. It looks to me like Zamora’s PR campaign is succeeding.

  • Frank Castle

    The last time down there in 2012, I was in Costa Rica and Panama both. Other than some parts of Panama City in the evening, I felt a lot safer in Panama. The people were very friendly and the law enforcement was prominent but polite. I never felt that I was in danger of being robbed at any time. In Costa Rica, except the far south, I didn’t have that confidence and felt I always have to be vigilant.

    • Pesobill

      Felt the same in Costa Ripoff when I was there in 2011!
      Downright creepy … Panama felt much better …

  • disgusted

    I spent some time in Leon, Nicaragua. I would live there except the constant heat,and brown outs… A friend of mine Nicaraguensa told me her brother in law is the Commandant in Rivas. That any hard headed , low life, robbers and thieves do not last long there. The police know who they are round them up , school of hard knocks and kick them out of the city. They hardly ever return. Also she would not allow certain family members in her house.. She explained past history and less complicated.

  • Entero Lobium

    Yeah Right. There were more pistols but they were “stolen” from the police lockup and, like everything else stolen here, were never recovered. CR might lack violence but may have more daily crime per capita than anywhere on earth…LOL Crime by cowards and adult “children”. Oh my son is a good boy. He keeps his room clean !. He’s fifty ya damn idiot !

  • Pesobill

    Costa Ripoff , uh not buying it . I had friends living there for 12 years and the petty /property crimes were off the charts . They lost so many things it was unbelievable . So maybe not killed but the crime of insecurity was amazing bad … Not happening Costa Ripoff