In the last four years crimes against tourists in Costa Rica have gone down due to a few reasons including a stronger police force making the major tourist spots safer.
Petty crime has been somewhat of a problem in Costa Rica, and has served to detract from the overall experience of people visiting the beautiful land of Pura Vida. Fortunately, the incidence of theft is on a downward trend as of about 2010. In the past, a number of stories have popped up on websites all over the internet decrying petty crimes that happened while visiting, retiring or having a prolonged stay in Costa Rica.
In one online comment related to retiring in Costa Rica, a couple cites multiple incidents of burglary while staying in Atenas, Costa Rica. There are more than a few entries just like that when you look at almost every story about visiting or living in Costa Rica. The upside of that experience is that it is becoming less frequent. With a larger patrol (3,000 officers in the major tourist locations) and a larger tourist police force (350 tourist police) the tide is turning.
Reported thefts dropped by 6.5% in 2013. The dropping crime rate, however, will not protect you from petty crimes or theft. There were still about 687 reported crimes from January 2013 to November 2013. In order to better prepare yourself to combat certain issues, you will want to add some of the following, if not all of the following, to your daily practices while in Costa Rica.
First, do not travel alone. Moving in a group or pairs has always been mentioned as a safer bet than going it alone. You may want to consider some theft deterrents as well (i.e. mace, a taser, an extendable baton, etc.) Next, make sure that you are locking your doors and windows. You don’t want to make it easier for thieves to take your things. Third, be aware of your surroundings. If you are heading into a dark alley, stop and turn around.
Fourth, spot the people you will want to be around in a bad situation. Not only the police, but also other tourists and Costa Ricans may provide you with assistance if you find yourself in a tight spot.
Remember to call for help (in Spanish= Ayudame!). Fifth, remember to keep an eye on your belongings. If you aren’t watching your things, it is easier for them to disappear. Last, you might consider getting some fake surveillance cameras to put around your property if you are staying in one place for an extended amount of time. They can be found at Radioshack.
Costa Rica is indeed a wonderful place, but not without its ills. Hopefully, the dropping crime rate will continue to make Costa Rica a safer and more enjoyable experience for its inhabitants and visitors.