San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Crime Stats

New crime index ranks Costa Rica's most dangerous cantons, but data are from 2011

The central cantons of Limón and San José top the country’s cantonal crime index, according to the latest report released this week by the Peace Vice Ministry – part of Costa Rica’s Justice Ministry – and the Institute for Municipal Development. But the data, a summary of which was released on Tuesday and didn’t include some serious crimes like rape and kidnapping, are three years old.

The “IX Cantonal Analysis of Violence and Insecurity in Costa Rica” is a ranking based on the number of crimes reported to the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) in 2011. Actual data on the number of complaints filed are not included in the final report.

The report, which reflected the country’s security situation one year into the administration of President Laura Chinchilla, shows that four of the five cantons with the highest crime rates were located in the Caribbean region: Limón (Central), Pococí, Matina and Talamanca. The central canton of San José ranked second.

The two cantons with the least number of reported crimes that year were Hojancha and Nandayure, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. Next were Dota in San José, Alfaro Ruiz in Alajuela, and Alvarado in Cartago.

Researchers used the data to create two other crime indexes, according to the type of crimes commited. Type 1 crimes included homicide, auto theft, assault and home invasions. In this category, the cantons with the highest rates were San José (Central), Limón (Central), Pococí (Limón), Alajuelita and Tibás (both in San José).

The cantons with lowest rates in this category were Tarrazú and Dota (both in San José), Nandayure (Guanacaste), Jiménez (Cartago) and San Mateo (Alajuela).

Type 2 crimes included burglary and petty theft. In this category, the largest number of crimes occurred again in the Caribbean cantons of Talamanca and Limón Central, followed by Heredia Central, Tarrazú (San José) and Aguirre (Puntarenas).

Cantons with the lowest rates in this category were Tibás and Alajuelita (both in San José), Hojancha (Guanacaste) and Santo Domingo and Belén (both in Heredia).

Peace Vice Minister Max Loría said the rankings were released to show that different types of crimes vary depending on the region.

“We have been supporting the development of local plans for violence prevention, and this analysis can help us improve our local strategies,” Loría said.

General Index of Crime

Source: IX Cantonal Analysis of Violence and Insecurity in Costa Rica

(The Tico Times)

Contact L. Arias at

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Lies, damned lies, and statistics. Contrary to the picture that TT wants to paint of Limon in this sensational piece this part of the country is by far not the most dangerous area of the country. I quick search of reputable news sources shows that the canton of Garabito, Puntarenas, that encompasses Jaco & Garabito has the highest rate of reported crimes in the country Aguirre, also in Puntarenas comes second, then Montes de Oca and San Jose. Thankfully the TT included a disclaimer that not only are the numbers old but also exclude certain crimes thus not reflecting a true picture.

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Lets get honest. The PLN aka the goverment in power has done nothing to help the poor or middle class. Crime is everywhere but Costa Rica is getting a little crazy. Yesterday i saw a robbery right in front of me. I saw two fights during the day in San Jose 10 days ago. People are very upset. I spoke with a police officer in Costa Rica that said he will do just enough because he has no back up and his Captian would never protect if they try to protect using there Gun. The police officer also said he makes 575 dollars a month what do you expect for that type of money. The police officer said most police would surport any other goverment right now. If there are protest they might be the ones to overthrow the Goverment or PLN. He said that he will be protesting FEB 25 with the unions.

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George Lemmon

Love that photo of Limon. You should do more stories about the Limon area – too often overlooked, and so interesting, despite the crime rate.

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