The government of Costa Rica proposes laws against crime

Costa Rica Police

The Government of Costa Rica presented this Wednesday (04.19.2023) to Congress a package of bills that seek to strengthen the fight against crime, at a time when the Central American country is experiencing an increase in violence, especially homicides.

The country’s president, Rodrigo Chaves, accompanied by several of his ministers, announced the bills and other Executive initiatives in an official act, and then went to the Parliament facilities to deliver them.

One of the projects is a reform to the Constitution to allow the extradition of nationals in cases of international drug trafficking and terrorism, while another initiative seeks to try as adults children or adolescents who commit crimes related to organized crime.

Other proposals seek to toughen punishments for the illegal possession of firearms, prevent “violent criminals” from receiving sentence reductions or being able to serve part of their sentence outside prison and modernize wiretapping legislation.

“This is an important change, I think we are doing the right and courageous thing. The Legislative Branch needs to take action and the Judicial Branch to do the same,” Chaves declared.

More police on the streets

The Chaves Administration also announced Operation Costa Rica Segura, through which it intends to increase the number of police officers on the streets and the operations in the most conflictive areas of the country.

As an extraordinary and temporary measure for six months, the Ministry of Security will increase the 6×4 working hours, that is, Police officers, to 6 consecutive work days and 4 days off. At present the days are 6×6 or 3×3.

In addition, the Executive reported the hiring of 400 police officers next June and 300 more by the end of 2023, who will join the around 12,000 troops that the country currently has. These initiatives were presented at a time when the country is going through an increase in homicides.

As of April 12, homicides in 2023 in Costa Rica reached 241, which represents 69 more than in the same period of 2022 for an increase of 40%. In the last two days, there have been at least 10 more homicides.

Costa Rica closed 2022 with a total of 656 homicides, the highest number in its history and with a rate of 12.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. This represented an increase of 11% compared to the number of homicides in 2021.