Costa Rica leads hemisphere in rate of robberies, OAS says

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública
This person is not in the statistics yet. He was detained
Tuesday in Upala shortly after armed men stuck up a
vegetable store and took, among other things, bananas and

Costa Rica has the highest rate of robberies by far in the entire Western Hemisphere, according to a report released by the Organization of American States.

Although the total number of robberies was lower than in countries like Brazil and the United States, in 2010 there were 943 robberies per 100,000 people in Costa Rica.

However, with regards to murder, the report also showed Costa Rica to be the 10th safest country out of the 37 in the hemisphere that same year.

The results are based on data from 2010, when Costa Rica had a murder rate of 11.4 per 100,000 people. More recent data from the Poder Judicial’s Sección de Estadística shows that the rate went down in 2011 to 10.3. That’s 527 murders in 2010 and 474 in 2011. Read more HERE!

The “Report of Citizen Security in the Americas” is released annually. This year’s 164-page report relied largely on data collected by police and crime investigation organizations in all countries throughout the hemisphere.

According to the report, more than 43,000 robberies took place here in 2010. That translates to 943 victims per 100,000 people. That rate is distantly followed by Mexico’s rate of 670.

However, the report has some inconsistencies. Between the years of 2006 and 2007, the number of robberies nearly doubled from 23,000 to 41,000 with no indication of how such a large increase might have occurred. In addition, the report did not include data for the past two years from Argentina, which has historically had the highest robbery rate in the hemisphere.

The report says that nearly 358,000 robberies occurred in the United States, which translates to a rate of 123 per 100,000.

Costa Rica was the safest country in Central America in terms of homicides. It’s murder rate was 11.4 in 2010 and 10.3 in 2011. Nicaragua was a close second with a rate of 13.5 in 2010 and 12.6 in 2011.

However, the number of violent deaths has doubled over the past decade in Central America and the Caribbean.

Honduras and El Salvador were by far the most dangerous countries in the hemisphere, and their murder rates have skyrocketed over the past decade. The rate in Honduras went from 81.9 per 100,000 in 2010 to 91.6 in 2011. In El Salvador the increase was from 64.7 per 100,000 in 2010 to 69.2 in 2011.

In terms of numbers, Brazil led with nearly 41,000 homicides in 2010. That’s a rate of 21.0. Mexico with around 21,000 and Colombia with about 17,000 distantly followed.

The aggregate number of murders committed in Brazil and Colombia in 2010 nearly equaled those committed in North America, Central America and the Caribbean combined. Those numbers were 58,000 for Brazil and 59,000 for Colombia.

Just over 14,000 people suffered violent deaths in the United States in 2010 at a rate of 4.6 per 100,000 people. Both numbers are decade lows. The rate was also the third lowest in the hemisphere, following Canada and Chile.

In countries that collected this data, the majority of murders were committed with guns and most of the victims were males.

In 2009, Costa Rica had a suicide rate of 6.1, a rape rate of 36.8, a theft rate of 104, a motor theft rate of 134 and an assault rate of 162 all per 100,000 people.

As of 2006, there were 148,000 registered firearms in Costa Rica at a rate 3,367 guns per 100,000 people, according to the Organization of American States.

Crimes other than murder are underreported in Costa Rica and many other countries because victims do not expect results from the police.

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