Year will end with spike in number of street crimes

The car may be safer, but residents may not be. Costa Rica crime statistics indicate crooks may be leaving the goods on wheels alone and, instead, targeting those traveling by foot.

Officials said that this year the number of reported car thefts have reached a new low, down to a smaller number than the number of thefts reported in 2005, despite an increase in the total number of vehicles in the country. The Judicial Investigating Organization also said the number of unreported car thefts is generally very low.

The crime of choice may be robbing pedestrians. Overall the number of reported pedestrian robberies has risen since last year. Despite an effort of law enforcement to saturate urban areas with police officers, the only thing that appears to have slowed the trend in robberies during this year was copious amounts of rain in November.

Except for November, every month in 2011 had more reported incidents of this type than the same month in 2010.

In addition, unlike car thefts, many robberies go unreported.
In 2008 there were 6,625 reported car thefts. This year’s projections place the end of the year total at around 4,500, a 30 percent decrease in reported incidents. Meanwhile robberies of pedestrians in 2011 have already surpassed by more than 500 all those that took place last year. As of Nov. 30 this year, the total number of reported pedestrian robberies was 7,156.

And if the number of pedestrian robberies in December is an average number, 2011 will finish with 1,000 more reported crimes of this type than last year. Typically the month of December has the most reported robberies. This is attributed to the influx of Christmas bonuses into the pockets of workers. December was the highest month for street robberies in 2010.

The concentration of the pedestrian robberies over the past two years took place overwhelmingly in the province of San José. During that period the province accounted for more than 50 percent of all pedestrian robberies in the country, and was home to 1,000 more reported incidents than more than all the other six provinces combined.

The decrease in the theft of vehicles follows a number of raids on shops where stolen cars were dismantled. This may have cut off the locations where car thieves could sell their ill-gotten

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