Country gets high ranking for security from Florida consulting firm

A West Palm Beach, Florida, firm has published an index that says Costa Rica is one of the three most secure countries in Latin America.

Said the firm,  FTI Consulting, about Costa Rica:

“The government continues with its plan to professionalize the security forces and its investment in public safety prevention programs. The country continues to maintain lower crime rates than other neighboring countries, although it has not been completely isolated from their problems.”

President Laura Chinchilla immediately put forth the index as a validation of her efforts to reduce crime. She said she was much satisfied that an international organization recognized the efforts made by the government to improve the security of the country, she said.

Venezuela, Guatemala and Honduras are the most dangerous places in Latin America, and Costa Rica, Chile and Uruguay remain the safest, the Florida firm said. The company said the index is directed principally at companies and executives who conduct business in the region.

The company explains the effort this way:

“This index examines how each country in the region is working towards reducing the levels of public insecurity, with particular focus on the business community. This allows us to see the long-term trends in terms of the improvement or worsening of the security situation.

“Our categories are based on official federal, provincial and municipal-level figures, concerning areas such as homicides, felonies, organized crime and drug trafficking, cargo and warehouse theft, home invasion, kidnapping, political and labor unrest, riots and violent demonstrations, as well as analyses of the effectiveness of government programs intended to address these problems. Only reliable government reported data has been considered as well as data and studies generated by NGOs and multilateral organizations. We analyze credible regional media, in order to obtain more specific information about certain phenomena, as well as academic research on the subject. Finally, we also utilize information gathered directly through our own work and business contacts in the region.”

The firm expressed concern over the state of Latin America.

“The phenomenon of organized crime and extreme violence surrounding the activities of drug cartels and the movement of drugs from production to consumer markets continues to be a major source of public insecurity in parts of Central America and Mexico. Additionally, social and political unrest has become a factor for some of the more troubled economies, such as Venezuela. Finally, despite significant investment that has led to marked improvements in some countries such as Colombia and Brazil, they have seen a resurgence of crime that has been difficult to control.”

“Public insecurity in the region continues to demand significant resources from the business community to protect its critical assets, and has a corrosive effect on the region’s competitiveness in the fight to attract investment dollars.”

The index runs counter to the opinions of some expats here and those in Nicaragua who say they think that insecurity is less there. The firm said this of Nicaragua:

“The country continues to maintain the lowest rate of insecurity in the ‘Triangle of Central America;’ however, robberies with violence are high and increasing. For example, in the first month of this year, violent crimes increased by 15 percent in comparison to the same month the prior year. The government continues to implement social order policies in order to achieve greater inclusion in sectors considered at risk alongside the fight against organized crime.”

Panamá was ranked just below Costa Rica, Chile and Uruguay. The firm said this of the neighbor to the south: “The country continues to invest heavily in security for controlling drug trafficking. The year 2013 ended with slightly improved crime rates to those of 2012 and continues to trend slightly down.”

The full report begins HERE!

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