Agents report slight decline in nation’s 2010 murder rate

The number of murders dipped slightly in 2010, according to the Judicial Investigating Organization. Statistics released Friday showed that there were 486 murders in Costa Rica for a rate of 10.65 killings per 100,000 of population.

That number is eight less than the 494 murders reported in 2009, said the investigative agency. It is 14 less than the 500 murders reported in 2008. The 2009 rate was 10.95 murders per 100,000 per population. The 2008 rate was 11.23 killings per 100,000 of population.

The U.S. rate for 2009, as reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s statistical unit, was 5.1 per 100,000, but the rate ranged as high as 11.4 killings per 100,000 persons for some large cities. The Costa Rican data and the U.S. data might not be gathered or reported in exactly the same way. In the United States, some 13,636 murders were counted.
The Costa Rican data for murders are considered fairly accurate, although many persons fail to report lesser crimes. Several cases in 2010 involving expats were determined to be suicides.

Family disputes cause many murders in Costa Rica, as do confrontations fueled by alcohol. Then there are the continual conflicts between rival drug gangs and revenge for drug thefts and robberies. Agents seem to believe that some recent murders involved territorial disputes between Jamaican and Mexican drug gangs.

The Judicial Investigating Organization reports some declines in robberies and thefts, but these data are considered less accurate because many victims do not make reports.

By contrast, the Costa Rican murder rates per 100,000 of population were 8.25 in 2007, 7.81 in 2006 and 7.11 in 2005.

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