Mario Zamora Cordero, the security minister, outlined Thursday what he perceived as some of the country’s greatest security threats, causes behind instances of insecurity and criminal trends.
He made a strong connection between high level narcotics trafficking crimes and the smaller misdemeanors such as theft, assaults and drug possession occurring on the consumer end of the drug trade. He said crack is one of the most dangerous drugs spreading through Costa Rican society.
He also said the government’s failure to invest in public security in year’s past has left it ill-prepared to handle the recent increase in national crime. Although, he said this year the government has enlisted more police officers, adding 1,500 under President Laura Chinchilla Miranda. He added that about 50 officers leave each month.
The ministry’s statistics also show the number of homicides in the first 10 months of this year to be 318, which is on par with figures from the same window of time in 2008 and 2009 but slightly lower than 2010. The past few years have been some of the most violent in Costa Rican history.
Zamora said inhibiting criminals’ access to firearms is one of the keys to lowering the number of homicides. The United States is working with the Costa Rican government to establish a large checkpoint structure near the Panamanian border and to patrol the seas.