San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Crime Beat

Costa Rica police launch operations in several neighborhoods in the capital to battle crime wave

More than 200 heavily armed police officers and tactical units began swarming several high-crime neighborhoods in Costa Rica’s capital on Thursday in an effort to take back city streets that have become overrun by dangerous criminals, authorities said.

Officers in tactical gear and armed with high-capacity weapons were seen patrolling several streets, sidewalks and lots in the western district of Pavas late Thursday afternoon. Authorities said the operations would continue in the southern San José suburbs of Desamparados and Alajuelita, the northern district of Tibás, and later, in the Caribbean port city of Limón. Agents will be searching for suspects with outstanding arrest warrants and those wanted on drug trafficking, assault or homicide charges. The operation is indefinite and police plan on maintaining a presence in those areas, authorities said.

The sweeps are part of a national public security plan that responds to an ongoing violent crime wave that includes a spike in drug-related homicide cases in the capital and in Limón. Between January and August of this year, 370 homicides were reported, 202 of them allegedly linked to organized crime, according to Costa Rican authorities. In one brazen attack on Oct. 9, heavily armed men shot up a taxi in a residential neighborhood of San José, killing one man and injuring two other people. The hit was captured on a surveillance video and shows suspects repeatedly firing AK-47s in an usually quiet neighborhood, with bullets ricocheting in all directions.

Heavily armed police officers patrol the western San José district of Pavas on Oct. 15, 2015. The operation was part of a national security plan targeting a recent violent crime wave.

The Tico Times

Many of the tactical officers involved in an Oct. 15, 2015 sweep of high-crime neighborhoods wore masks to cover their faces.

The Tico Times

Special tactical units target areas of high crime in Costa Rica’s capital on Oct. 15, 2015.

The Tico Times

One of the weapons confiscated during police sweeps in western San José on Oct. 15, 2015.

The Tico Times

Residents of the western San José district of Pavas were surprised Oct. 15, 2015 by heavily armed police officers flocking to the area looking for suspects with outstanding arrest warrants and others linked to illicit drug sales or homicides.

The Tico Times

This story is developing. Follow for udpates.


Contact David Boddiger at dboddiger@ticotimes.net54

Log in to comment


This is long overdue. But there needs to be a force presence after dark and certainly after 11 pm all night. These forces should be rotating among the targeted neighborhoods that that when the thugs come out from under their rocks, they can be arrested and locked up.

Now if Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit and several other Democrat destroyed inner
cities would just do something similar…but it won’t happen and the killing will continue…

0 0
Bill Spears

Good news, but let us be a little better informed. The police were NOT carrying high CALIBER weapons. from the pictures they were carrying .223 caliber HIGH CAPACITY weapons. A high Caliber weapon would be in the .30+ and above range, not a weapon that shoots a bullet a little bigger than a twenty two. So the writer will understand, caliber refers to the sized of the circumference of the bullet. Capacity refers to the NUMBER of bullets the gun is able to fire without reloading. I seriously doubt they were carrying .50 caliber weapons even if they are not in the pictures.

0 0
David Boddiger

Thanks for the clarification, Bill. Will make the change.

0 0

Well, Okay during broad daylight making the sweeps. Then the night comes nowhere to be found any police in most of these barrios. I think this is just publicity stunt for now. Waving the flag. One Nica who lives there said to me she doesn’t feel any more safe than a week ago.

It would be maybe beneficial to have squads located in different areas ready to go and patrolling along with their cellphone numbers we the citizens can call to act quickly. Have some remote bus stops with cameras that are really being monitored.. I have heard those who watch are dozing off sometimes . Like I said before I still believe this is just a fairy tale. Acting tough does not mean they can lower the crime rate here .Need prison space to lock these guys up Please!

0 0