Bruce McCallum just wanted to take a picture of the sunrise in Puerto Viejo de Limón. This Canadian professor never imagined that on March 5th, 2017 he was going to be the victim of an assault that would cost him his life. He was killed for his camera. Offenders from the area – who apparently were minors – murdered him with a knife and stole his belongings.
However, this case is not isolated. A total of 1056 foreigners reported being victims of assaults in Costa Rica during the last five years. This is shown by the statistics of the Criminal Analysis Unit of the Office of Plans and Operations of the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ). On average, every year 200 foreign tourists file complaints for this type of crime.
In 2015 we had the lowest number of cases. However, since that year there has been an upward trend,”
said David Pérez, criminal analyst at the OIJ.
The judicial police indicates that in most cases, the assaults reported since 2013 were committed with a firearm, knives or physical strength.
Last week, the National Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR) announced that the Costa Rican Association of Auto Rentistas registers a high incidence of thefts to tourists by “pinchonazos” to rental vehicles.
However, Víctor Ramírez, head of Tourist Service of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), believes Costa Rica continues to be a safe destination, since a coordinated effort has been made in the last 11 years to reduce crime.
In 2017 there were 204 assaults. These are the cantons with the highest incidence of cases:
-Ballena Bay: 14
-San Pedro: 8