Despite the great financial rewards that Costa Rica enjoys from tourism, there seems to be few visible improvements to security. It is very discouraging for tourism operators. The main reason to make a police report, is so the government does understand the magnitude of the problem. Without the police reports, there is no official data to make them aware.
We also live in a tourist area that is seeing more crime. We hire our own guards, install bars and safes, and work together to try to make our area secure. Often our local police do not have a working motorcycle or are called away to a different area and can’t respond quickly to our needs. Often they do not have enough staff to patrol at night. There is seldom enough evidence to actually hold the criminal once they are off the property.
When a crime is reported, the police and Judicial Investigating Organization tell us about lack of staff, lack of equipment, lack of evidence. They suggest that we live behind bars, and the thieves can roam free. I am often helping non-Spanish-speaking people to make the police report, which takes about an hour, in the hot little police station. Local expats often are not interested in making reports, as it seems to make little difference. We have brainstormed about how we can secure ourselves, but it is very difficult. The costs of hiring private security for a large, spread out area is too costly. Helping to finance the police usually ends in disappointment. A very disheartening situation.