According to statistics by the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ), so far this year, one tourist becomes the victim of an assault every 33 hours. The institution has reported 35 complaints in the first 48 days of the year.
The numbers show that criminals use methods ranging from the use of firearms or knives, as well as beating objects, verbal intimidation or simply snatching.
The OIJ investigations point out that these acts are committed by local criminals who take advantage of lonely places and people. However, the data only contemplate the cases in which a complaint was filed.
For example, in the canton of Talamanca, 50% of the assaults were reported against tourists in the country. The cases occur in the districts of Cahuita and Bratsi, and one of the last events was reported on February 10th, when an American woman was a victim of an assault.
In this area, judicial officers have already identified assailants and even arrested a suspect, although the country reports victims from 15 different nationalities.
Some of the registered cases affected visitors from Turkey, Argentina, United States, Italy, England, New Zealand, Belgium, Chile, Germany, Austria, Spain, among others.
Bahía Ballena, Puntarenas, also registers 17% of the assaults against tourists during 2017, followed by San José and Tamarindo, as well as isolated cases in Limón, Golfito, Cóbano, La Fortuna, Sierpe, and Río Segundo de Alajuela.
These figures alarmed the national tourism sector, since the country’s image cannot be tarnished by assaults, especially since the country has registered an amount close to 3 million international arrivals.
Pablo Abarca, president of the National Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR), believes insecurity is the country’s Achilles heel.