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Friday, February 23, 2024

Security Alert Issued by the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica issued a security alert due to increased crime and violence. The level 2 alert was published on March 1, urging U.S. citizens to take precautions.

“The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica advises U.S. citizens of increasing crime levels, particularly violent crime, in Costa Rica, specifically San Jose. For this reason, the Embassy would like to remind you of the importance of personal safety and situational awareness,” read the publication.

Additionally, the Embassy published some guidelines for those visiting the country. Authorities urged remaining “alert and vigilant” and paying attention when “transiting into an unknown area, such as going into or out of a store.”

It’s also crucial to stay alert of the surroundings and leave if feeling unsafe. Maintaining a low profile in public and avoiding going out alone is also recommended.

Given the situation, it was also suggested to “avoid excessive jewelry, electronics, and carrying and flashing large sums of cash and walking alone on the streets at night.”

The Embassy asked visitors to “be prepared to enter your vehicle quickly when walking through parking lots.  Stay clear of areas that might conceal danger” and “alert a close family member and/or friend if you plan to travel and leave your contact information with them.”

“If you are a victim of crime, contact Costa Rican Emergency Services at 911 and report the crime to the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) police at 506-2295-3000,” the Embassy mentioned.

For assistance, call 506-2519-2000 or 011-506-2519-2000 (from the U.S.) or email Acssanjose@state.gov https://cr.usembassy.gov/.

The government’s response

The Minister of Public Security, Jorge Torres, addressed this topic in yesterday’s press conference. He questioned the parameters used by the Embassy to publish such an alert and assured he would meet with Embassy representatives to talk to discuss the issue.

Jorge Torres also criticized Costa Rica’s judicial branch, believing judges are “irresponsible.”

President Chaves and the Ministry of Security agreed that the upsurge in violent crime was due to drug gangs.

Nonetheless, they were unable to clarify which would be the plan and the strategies to combat the problem, nor when they would be presented.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a clear path on a matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The government must act promptly before any more innocent lives are lost at the hands of criminals.

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