2013 is on track to be a record year for reported crime

Crime reported in the first seven months of this year showed an 11 percent increase over 2012, the Judicial Investigating Organization said Tuesday.

Murders, street robberies, thefts and home invasions all showed increases, said the report.

The data came from the agency’s criminal analysis division and only address crimes that have been reported. An  unrelated telephone survey that was the subject of a news story earlier this month estimated that there may have been as many as 200,000 robberies or assaults from February to June. That survey was commissioned by the  Cámara Norteamericana Costarricense de Comercio and  the accounting and consulting firm Deloitte.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that there were 3,603 asaltos in the seven months. That was reported to be 607 more than the previous period in 2012.

The word in Spanish usually is translated as arobbery and not as a physical assault as in English.

There were 227 murders in the first seven months of 2013. During the same period in 2012 there were 209. That could be considered good news because in the same period in 2008 there were 260, in 2011 there were 283, in 2010 there were 307 and in 2011 there were 291, according to the agency. During these years wars were being waged by rival drug gangs.

Still, an 8.6 percent increase in reported  murders was not what Casa Presidencial was seeking. The Laura Chinchilla administration has been promoting the idea that crime had decreased and cherry-picking data to do it.

San José was the provence with the most murders followed by Limón. Because of population differences, that gave Limón a rate of 14.4 murders per 100,000 population compared with the 5.1 per 100,000 in San José.

The central canton of San José, generally considered the city, had  21 reported murders during this period under study. Goicoechea was second in the province with 16, and Tibás and Desamparados tied for third with 14 each.

The central canton of Limón in that province also has 21 murders during the period, and Pococí was second with 13.

Because many of these murders still are under investigation, agents could not provide motives for 72. Arguments led to killing in 52 cases with revenge third with 43. Some 41 persons died during the commission of other crimes,  including stickup, according to the data.

The most-used weapon was a firearm, which killed 154 persons or 67 percent of the total, said the agency. Some 42 person died from knife wounds, it said.

With five months to go in 2013, the total murders would appear to project to about 390, the lowest annual amount since 2007 when there were 362. The record was in 2010 with 527 murders.

In the totals so far this year, the judicial report said that nine persons died when citizens or police engaged in self defense and killed a suspect.

In terms of total crime, the central canton of San José also was the leader with 4,271 reported in the first seven months. That is a 12.3 percent increase over the first seven months of 2012. All other cantons in the country had less than 1,000 reported crimes, and a canton such as Mora had just 37 reports, said the agency.

In 2012 the Judicial agency received complaints of 47,433 crimes. Extrapolating the current data suggests that 2013 will end with more than 51,000 reported crimes. That would be a record.

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