San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Victim Wants to Know Just How Bad Crime Is

It was just another day in Costa Rica: Someone had been burglarized.

But this time, the victim, Steve Harrington, a U.S. citizen and recent arrival to Costa Rica, decided he wanted to do something after his camera was stolen in June in the western San José neighborhood of Sabana Norte.

Harrington, owner of a management consulting firm in the United States, decided to create a survey online to get Englishspeaking foreigners to detail just how bad the crime problem has become.

“I don’t have an axe to grind,” he said told The Tico Times. “I just know when I talked to people about how I got hit, there was this huge uproar and rumor mill about all the crimes going on here. I can’t tell if it’s safe to go to (La Sabana) park at night. Who knows? There’s a whole lot of noise and not a lot of facts.”

Harrington, a specialist in data analysis, said his goal is to get the survey formalized by the end of this month with the help of testers. He wants to then leave the survey up on the Web for several months to collect data and then give the information away to those interested.

“I want to create a final report and then give away the methodology to use again,” he said.

Currently, questions can be answered anonymously and include sections on crimes committed against participants and measures communities are taking to defend themselves.

People interested in participating in Harrington’s crime survey can contact him at

–Nick Wilkinson


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