TRAVEL SECURITY INFORMATION
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SAN JOSȆ – Costa Rican authorities said Thursday 115 police officers were sacked or in the process of being sacked for suspected involvement in serious crimes such as murder, rape, assault and kidnapping.
There is a kidnapping and extortion in Latin America every 30 minutes and even when the ranson is paid 70% percent of the victims are killed rather than being returned to their love ones. The Falcon Group is the only licensed and insured security company providing on a daily bases the services of negotiations, anti-kidnapping, anti-extortion and witness protection services with seasoned field experienced ex-military security operators. The Falcon Group provides security services and specialized protection with active security deterrents in all of Latin America. www.news.co.cr/crime-safety-costa-rica
" Studies have shown that terrorist and criminal elements are greatly discouraged from a hostile intent toward an individual or their family from a potential assailants and will search for another "soft" target, if you have a personal security close protection agent known as a bodyguard." There has also been an increase in the number of short term opportunistic kidnappings called express kidnappings in Latin America, sometimes the persons have been released unharmed and sometime the persons have been known to have been killed even after the ransom is paid. All of Latin America has seen an increase of kidnappings and assassination attempts in countries that once were known for their beauty and low crime rates. A person can be assassinated by a professional sicario for the small amount of $200.00 two hundred american dollars. The U.S. Department of Justice states, that Americans visiting or working in other countries are increasingly becoming targets of anti-U.S. attacks. Latin America is the most likely for anti-American attacks, with the Middle East following closely just behind. Criminals have shown since 2005 a greater tendency in Latin America to use violence especially against U.S. citizens and tourist. The ¨U.S. Department of State satistics¨ state www.travel.state.gov gangs, muggings and armed robberies can occur even in the daylight on a busy street in Latin America. Attacks can happen during the day, late night, during arriving flights and to and from the airport. You can reduce the risk of becoming a victim by hiring security services. Increase incidents of personal violence are plaguing the once peaceful nations of Latin America. The attacks are sudden, violent, unpredictable and existing security firms and law enforcement systems Latin America are inadequate and unprepared to deal with the new growing wave of violent organized crime.
The head of the Honduran armed forces has claimed that the most powerful Latin American gangs are expanding their presence in Costa Rica. As of June 2018, 26 members of the most violent gang in the world. The MS18 have been captured in Costa Rica and deported back to El Salvador by imigration authorities.
In a recent interview with Costa Rican news outlet Diario Extra, Francisco Álvarez Urbina said that the Honduran military's anti-crime efforts have driven some members of the Barrio 18 and MS 13 gangs into nearby countries like Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Before you hire security services or a bodyguard company in Latin America Understand, that "Personal Security" is a professional service. Follow our instructions to insure you're getting a truly qualified person to protect your life. The well being of your family and that of your personnel overseas. Read our blog at: www.crfalcongroupinternational.com.blogspot, and for all your up-to-date travel security information for all foreign countries www.thesecuritywebsite.com/index.php/costa-rica-security
To review daily reported crime issues and statistics of Costa Rica and in all latin America. The following links from local newspapaers will better assist you www.amcostarica.com; www.nacion.com, www.ticotimes.net for all up-to-date local robbery and murder crime information www.crhoy.com, www.news.co.cr/crime-safety-costa-rica in planning your trip.
Homicides soaring again
A recent rash of violent crimes has plagued Costa Rica. Kidnappings in this usually tranquil paradise have shot up 500% in the past six months.
Theft, robberies, fraud, and crimes related to drug trafficking are a very serious threat to diplomats, expats and tourists from the United States who travel to Costa Rica. Such is the main warning found within the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) 2016 report for Costa Rica.
According to the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ), 47 people a month are being violently murdered. Last year 2015 there were 558 homicides, a record in Costa Rica. This year in 2016 murders could easily surpass last year’s total. Most of the deaths are drug and gang related, however, children have also become more vulnerable to homicide.
The U.S. Department of State reported that the criminal threat rating for San José, Costa Rica is very High. While crimes occur throughout Costa Rica. They are more prevalent in certain locations, including popular tourist destinations. There has been a spike in the number of home burglaries and robberies in Costa Rica since the year 2012. The majority of crime and safety threats to the U.S. citizens involve theft, petty theft, rape and murder is very common in highly populated and tourist areas. Pickpocketing, mugging, purse snatching and theft are common occurrences. The biggest issues confronting tourists while visiting is passport theft since the year 2013, 990 lost or stolen U.S. passports were reported to U.S. Citizens Services at the Embassy. There are vehicle burglaries, smash-and-grabs and home robberies. These are prevalent but are often deterred by hired guards and enhanced security features on homes and vehicles. Organized crime groups are of significant concern. Both nationals and third country nationals participate in organized crime, consisting of car theft rings, drug traffickers, petty thieves, burglars, rapes, murder for hire. Porous borders allow the country to be utilized to traffic drugs and other contraband. Sex tourism is on the rise in the tourist areas, specifically the coastal areas. Tourists who engage in or solicit prostitution exponentially increase their chances of being a victim of theft or violent robbery. Violent crimes, like murders, robberies and sexual assaults, are committed frequently against U.S. citizens. The U.S. Embassy in San José has received reports of a particularly higher number of violent assaults, robberies and rapes in the Limón Caribbean costal region (from Tortuguero through Limón to Puerto Viejo), often involving invasions of rental homes and eco lodges. Costa Rica is experiencing an increase of human smuggling. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The primary reasons for human trafficking is the illicit of organ harvesting (especially in Colombia) and being forced into prostitution. While driving in Costa Rica drivers will find a lack of street signs and names, making finding an address difficult even with a GPS. Transportation accidents are frequent, particularly in all of Costa Rica. Road rage drivers can be aggressive and take action against you and physically assault you causing serious injuries. Traffic laws and speed limits are often ignored, turn signals are rarely used, passing on dangerous stretches of highway is common and pedestrians are not given the right of way. The majority of casualties are motorcyclists. Motorcyclists commonly drive without respect to rules of the road, often passing on the right, weaving without warning and creating thier own lanes. The fatality rate for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists is high. Traffic police are not proactive and do not regularly monitor the roads; they mainly respond to traffic accidents and at times are open to corruption. If involved in an accident, the law requires that you leave the vehicle(s) in place until the insurance company and traffic police arrive. Which could take several hours. Criminals have targeted rental vehicles. Tourists should make an effort to store luggage and other personal items out of plain view and ensure that car doors are locked. Another tactic used by criminals is to puncture the tires of rental vehicles and follow the car until the driver pulls over. The criminals, under the guise of being a good Samaritans. Will stop to help change the tire and then rob and steal the tourist’s personal items. Only take offical taxi cabs clearly marked with the companies name and that is from reputable company usually (red, yellow or orange in color) https://www.worldnomads.com/travel-safety/central-america/costa-rica/crime-in-costa-rica
Costa Rica has a long tradition of stable democracy. It has not had a military since 1948. Local, Regional and International Terrorism Threats is a valid threat. Because drug cartels and local gangs are starting to operate freelly and without much deterrents from local law enforcement authorities. Who ranks are infiltrated by high levels of corruption and by criminal groups. There are several known indigenous terrorist organizations operating in Costa Rica from other Latin American countries. There is a low threat level for international and transnational terrorism attacks in Costa Rica, but not impossible. Being alert at all times and having private security will prove a peace of mind on your next vacation and / or residing in Costa Rica.
Not even Costa Rica could avoid the curse of 2016, as it marked the most violent year in the country’s history. Annual statistics confirm that Costa Rica continues to show alarming trends in violence, specifically when it comes to homicide and traffic mortality rates.
End-0f-year statistics from the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) show that the country set an unenviable record for murders in a single year, with 577 reported homicides in 2016, up 19 killings from last year’s previous record high. In 2017 there were 803 murders in Costa Rica and in the first two months of 2018 there have been 97 murders in Costa Rica.
Among these figures were notable murders of international residents, including the shooting of U.S. citizen John Lonergan outside of a night club in Jacó last September, as well as the brutal slaying of 56-year-old U.S. businessman Dirk Beauchamp alongside four members of his family in Matapalo, Guanacaste in February.
Compiled with the latest census numbers, that leaves Costa Rica with a murder rate of 12 killings for every 100,000 people in the country. That rate has nearly doubled since 2002, though it still remains a far cry from neighbors in the Northern Triangle such as El Salvador (104 killings per 100,000 people) and Honduras (61 killings per 100,000 people), according to 2015 World Bank data.
Meanwhile, on Costa Rican roads, numbers from the Traffic Police show that there were 448 accident-related deaths in 2016. That is up a staggering 50 “on-site” fatalities from the previous record rate set in 2015. More than a quarter of those killed on the roads were between the ages of 21 t0 30.
A recent survey from Australia’s Global Positioning Specialists listed Costa Rican roadways as the fourth most dangerous in the world for drivers, taking into account the poor road conditions and high mortality rate.
In terms of both homicides and traffic deaths, the deadly trend has begun spilling into the new year, according to a OIJ report that listed nine people killed in traffic accidents or murders on Sunday alone.
Rising rates of violence have also led people to become increasingly worried about safety throughout the country, according to a University of Costa Rica School of Statistics report from December. The report showed that more than half of those polled consider Costa Rica’s level of insecurity to be either high or very high.
SICARIOS in Costa Rica being trained in the Country of Mexico the murder rate in Costa Rica in 2018 by sicarios is 70%
Assassins from Costa Rica are reportedly traveling to Mexico to receive specialized training from criminal groups, suggesting Costa Rican criminals are growing in sophistication by learning from their more experienced foreign counterparts.
According to Costa Rican Attorney General Jorge Chavarria, local contract killers are traveling to Mexico to learn skills such as target practice, intelligence gathering, escape tactics, and how to use high-caliber weapons like AK-47s, reported La Nacion.
Motorcycle is the assassin's vehicle
The approach of two men on a motorcycle should generate some apprehension. This is the hallmark of hired killers. The motorcycle seems to be the vehicle of choice for killers on assignment. The person in front drives while the passenger takes aim and riddles his target on the street or in a nearby vehicle. This technique is not new, but the incidences of such crimes seem to be increasing. A driver in Pococí died at the hands of such assassins Saturday while he was transporting his two children, 6 and 10, and an adult friend. Witnesses told judicial agents that the killers were riding double on a motorcycle. The children and the adult friend survived their wounds. The driver who died was identified by the last name of Rodríguez. He was 25. Also Saturday in Urbanización El Llano in Guácimo, Pococí, a pedestrian identified by the last name of Méndez died after being shot down by a man riding double on a motorcycle. He was hit four times, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. Agents later found the motorcycle abandoned a kilometer away. It had been reported stolen. Sunday the situation was reversed in Barrio San Martín, Nicoya. A man 42-years-old identified by the last name of Zúñiga suffered bullet wounds about 1 a.m. while riding his motorcycle when he was confronted by three men on the roadway. Investigators generally attribute these crimes to disputes among drug gangs, but the case in Nicoya probably was a robbery because the victim died of a bullet to the back sustained while he fled. The motive probably was robbery. The proliferation of such crimes also suggest that some killers are engaged in contract work unrelated to drug activities.
|U.S. vet and expat continues treatment from attack|
By the A.M. Costa Rica
Richard King, the disabled U.S. veteran who probably was the target of crooks in Liberia, is in California now learning to use a white cane and make the best of his remaining eyesight. King, now 66, suffered eye, face and skull injuries when a man threw a rock into his windshield in November 2015 near the Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia. King, who has a home in Ojochal, was in good spirits Monday night as he recounted the crime and told of his treatments at the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center in Menlo Park, California. King, who was considered 100 percent disabled, lost most of the sight in his right eye in Vietnam in 1969. The attack with a rock severely damaged his left eye. He said he also suffered a hole in his head about a quarter inch in diameter. The head injury cost him his sense of taste and smell, he said. What happens bears all the marks of either an attempted robbery or an extortion. King was picking up a friend at the Liberia airport and stopped at a grocery. When he was leaving, a man ran up and said King’s car had hit his. He demanded that King come with him. King refused, and his friend, now a passenger, also doubted there had been a mishap. After King drove away, the unidentified man chased him in his own vehicle and eventually got ahead. The man stopped and tried to heave a large rock at King. He was not strong enough. Several miles later on the man found a smaller rock, and it was this that smashed through the windshield, said King. He also suffered broken bones in a finger.
Richard King remains committed to Costa Rica despite attack
King, of course, made a report to the Judicial Investigating Organization, but he expressed disappointment Monday night at the agency’s lack of a followup. King said at one point he spent three hours in a judicial office at the request of investigators, but no one showed up to talk with him.He said he figures the window smasher has not been found, although he suspects local police know who the man is. Part of the encounter was caught on surveillance cameras. Coping with near blindness has not been easy. King reports he fell down twice and broke some ribs. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs rehabilitation center has put him in a program where he learns to use what sight he still has, he said.
Despite his problems, King is not fed up with Costa Rica where he has lived for 12 years. He said he will be returning in about six weeks. He has a Costa Rican wife. He will be the south Pacific coast resident walking with two canes. One will be white and the other will be for stability.
|Hotline tips drop while crime is said to be rising|
A.M. Costa Rica
The hotline to submit an anonymous tip to the drug police has apparently been used less and less over the past couple years. According to data from the Policía de Control de Drogas, the hotline received around 4,908 calls and 7,733 complaints in 2016. That is an average of 13 calls and 21 complaints each day, police said. By comparison, there were 6,949 calls and 11,136 complaints recorded for 2015 and, in 2014, 7,761 calls were put on record along with 11,088 complaints. Authorities said that citizens’ calls often lead them to determine who are involved in drug trafficking groups and how to dismantle organized crime in Costa Rica. The drug police insist that the confidentiality of those who report or make a complaint is guaranteed. So why has there been a decrease in these calls? It cannot be due to crime going down. By all accounts, from the U.S. State Department to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública’s own statements, crime and, particularly violent crime, is on the rise in Costa Rica. A substantial majority of press releases or announcements sent out by the ministry or the Judicial Investigating Organization repeat a common story of a drug bust, finding drugs on a person or in a vehicle, or a raid that yielded the capture or arrest of suspected traffickers. Back in February, Gustavo Mata Vega, the head of the security ministry, came before the legislative assembly to ask for more money to receive more equipment and add more manpower. Over 1,500 more police are being added to the ranks of the security ministry, which already has 10,000 officers. These include: the Fuerza Pública, frontier police, members of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas and the Servicio de Vigilancia Áerea. Mata in his visit to the legislature listed the hardware his ministry recently acquired. This includes two airplanes and two boats. The arrival of three helicopters is awaited. In addition, the ministry has at least one King Air, a top-of-the-line turboprop luxury plane, that was confiscated on the Caribbean coast, as well as a handful of other aircraft. The previous administration of the United States is providing $25 to $30 million more in equipment, according to the U.S. Embassy. If more money and equipment is necessary, then some expats could interpret that the rise in crime and the threat to regional security and stability by drugs, gangs and other organized crime entities is influencing these decisions. Foreign governments seem to share the same impression.
Casa Presidencial photo
Fuerza Pública officers of Limón pose.
In January, the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office included Costa Rica on a list of countries where British citizens traveling this summer should exercise a high degree of caution.The U.S. Embassy to Costa Rica notes on its website that “crime is increasing in Costa Rica and U.S. citizens are frequent victims."The embassy quickly assures that most of it is non-violent, they do note that there has been an increase in it. The U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council said: “The most widely used indicator of crime is the homicide rate, which reached a record high in 2015. There were 566 murders, marking a 20 percent increase over the 471 murders registered in 2014. The murder rate was approximately 11.5 per 100,000 inhabitants by the end of 2015, surpassing the threshold of 10 per 100,000 that the World Health Organization considers to be an endemic level of homicide.”The Judicial Investigating Organization reported 577 recorded homicides in 2016, surpassing that record high. In relation to drugs, the Canadian government warns its citizens traveling to Costa Rica that: “Drug trafficking is increasing in Costa Rica. Local consumption of illicit narcotics, particularly crack cocaine, is a concern in the country, along with the continued rise in drug-related violent crimes, including homicides.”This information is paralleled with the Costa Rican government’s own announcement of a nationwide crackdown of crime and drug trafficking beginning May 1. This announcement follows what has been a string of incidents and raids leading to busts of large quantities of substances like marijuana, K2, crack and cocaine. It also follows operations already ongoing in the wars on drugs and crime. After a Canadian tourist was found brutally murdered in Puerto Viejo, the security ministry quickly announced in March a complete sweep throughout the Caribbean section of the country. The results of this have mostly been minor drug busts and a show of force. The decrease in calls to the hotline seem to not point toward a decrease in the level of crime. It could be that fewer people are submitting tips due to a feeling of hopelessness that the problem cannot be stemmed no matter how many or who is arrested. And in many communities there is fear of contacting police in the first place.
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