San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Violent crime down in 2010, OIJ report shows

Fewer robberies, homicides and sexual assaults were reported in Costa Rica last year, according to statistics from the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ). The number of registered violent crimes decreased by 5 percent, from 68,708 reported cases to 65,482.

According to OIJ Director Jorge Rojas, cases of auto theft decreased by 27 percent last year, the most dramatic drop of crimes in the violent crime category. In 2010, 4,681 vehicles were reported stolen, down from 6,179.

The number of homicides per 100,000 residents also decreased from 11.95 to 11.62. In Costa Rica, 486 homicides were reported last year, the lowest number in three years. The homicide rate in 2008 was 12.25 per 100,000 residents.

The most violent provinces were Limón, on the Caribbean coast; Puntarenas on the Pacific coast; and San José in the Central Valley.

Reported assaults were down by 5 percent and home invasions were down by 4 percent, the OIJ said. However, incidences of petty theft increased by 2 percent from 2009 (see related story above).

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