San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica's police force plans to add 1,000 officers

The Costa Rican government plans to take more than $80 million dollars (₡45 billion) from the revenues that would be generated by a new tax law to increase public security across the country.

The increased security efforts come as part of a new corporate tax policy approved by lawmakers in first debate in a recent Legislative Assembly session. Of the ₡45 billion the bill is expected to generate if it is approved in second and final debate and becomes a law, the goverment will allocate 90 percent to the Public Security Ministry, while the remaining 10 percent will be split between the Justice Ministry and the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).

The bulk of the Public Security Ministry funds will go to the National Police Force, which will use it to put 1,000 more officers on the streets and purchase new equipment, according to a news release from the Costa Rican government Monday.

Presidency Minister Sergio Alfaro said in the statement that the bill is “vital to guarantee the security of Costa Rican citizens.”

“We extend our appreciation to lawmakers for passing this vote for the well-being of the country,” Alfaro said, urging legislators to hold the second-debate vote on the bill as soon as possible, since the tax change will not take effect for three months after its official publication. “The sooner it can be officially passed, the sooner we can dole out those resources for public security.”

Public Security Minister Gustavo Mata also expressed gratitude to Costa Rican lawmakers for the potential increase in funds, saying that the money will go to specific programs to modernize patrols all over the country.

“We can invest this money in radar and boats to combat the drug trafficking happening in the Caribbean, hiring more officers, improving our delegations and adquiring the technology that the ministry needs,” Mata said.

The bill, No. 19,818, was discussed by the Finance Commission and was put on the fast track to expedite the legislative process.

In 2016, Costa Rica saw record highs in violence with 577 reported homicides and nearly 448 accident-related deaths.

Contact Michael Krumholtz at

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Totally agree with you Ken and Hammee. The issue is so obvious it would need to be intentionally overlooked.

I’m convinced what we are seeing is standard government procedure: create / exploit an atmosphere of fear, offer a placebo solution, and then stampede the herd into agreeing with your solution at any price.

Only 5% of the anticipated revenues for 2017 will go to prisons, with the lions share to the police. I believe here was a motion last year to release prisoners due to overcrowding in the prisons, a problem that remains unresolved.

What of this obvious tax grab in future years? Free money to a government that has consistently failed to provide any meaningful solution to any significant problem – except increase taxes to make this one of the most expensive countries to live in Central America.

Until this tax came about, most expats were advised by lawyers to place property and bank accounts into non-active corporations as a protective measure. We have few other options to effectively protect ourselves here. Why tax a non-active corporation that has no income? Easy, because you can.

Just once I’d like to see a government in place that is actually for the people.

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Ken Morris

I’m afraid this is the wrong direction. It’s just more cops-vs.-robbers thinking, a cat-and-mouse game. Personally, I marvel over the number of cops that already exists. They’re kind of everywhere in my neighborhood.

I have to admit that Hammee has a point. A more serious practical problem is that guys who have already been convicted of literally dozens of crimes aren’t in jail but are out free to do more cimes. But the other problem is that Mata appears to believe that he can win the war on drugs with more cops and firepower, but I don’t think that war is winnable.

I’m afraid that this is money down a rat hole.

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I find it interesting the public police for drive $90.000 Toyota land cruisers and new hilux pick up trucks.
Oh nice new Honda Enduro also.
Where did this $ come from?
Who maintains them?
Do they in fact service them on a regular basis?
Over the years I have seen them pile up their bikes and junked cars beside the offices.
Finally ending up in scrap yard auctions.
Will these be the same because this is how it has always worked in the past?

I asked the cpt of the police force why he and his officers let the crack head sell drugs in front of the school?
He replied that they had arrested him 8xs and sent him into the system only to see him in front of the school sometimes within hrs.
He apologized and said the system is broken and he was embarrassed.

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Bruce Hubert

what is the specifics of the tax plan? You do not explain it.!

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Build more jail cells!
It’s not a lack of police officials. The problem in fact is there is no room to lock up the criminals.

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