While some people are counting their presents the day after Christmas, the medical staff with the Cruz Roja is counting the holiday casualties. According to statistics kept by the medical responder organization, this year marked an increase in violent deaths on Christmas and Christmas Eve, capping off a month highlighted not only by festivities but also by pain and suffering.
Of the 75 violent deaths the Cruz Roja responded to throughout the month of December up until Tuesday, 12 people died between Dec. 24 and Dec. 25. That number signifies the highest amount of violent deaths they have recorded between the two days since 2007 when 15 people died. In 2010 only 5 violent deaths were recorded by the Cruz Roja during the same period.
Deaths not responded to by the organization were not represented in its statistics, making the reported numbers an underestimate of the comprehensive overview.
The Cruz Roja attributed the violent December deaths predominately to stabbings and shootings but also aquatic accidents and automobile collisions. Furthermore, the organization also claims 178 more people involved in life-threatening incidents this month were kept from becoming a holiday death statistic because medical technicians were able to bring them to hospitals or administer timely emergency care.
During the more notable holiday events, the Festival de La Luz thus far stands in first place among the others for 186 injuries attended to by medical staff. The Tope registered 82 people requiring medical attention and the festivals in Zapote, which includes the famed event in which regular citizens run around a ring taunting a bull, is at 61 injured people and rising.
Statistics presented by the Fuerza Pública Tuesday demonstrated a slightly more positive picture for deaths in the months leading up to the holidays. The homicide toll for October this year was reported at 31, down 19 from last year.
The statistics were presented at the signing of a new tax law to be used to fund security measures, but numbers for November and December were not included. The statistics also showed household robberies, vehicle thefts and injuries by gun violence were at lowest levels in three years.
But robberies of pedestrians are higher than last year and homicides rates are similar to those of past three years, some of the most violent in Costa Rican history.