World Bulletin / News Desk
Costa Rica recorded its highest-ever annual murder rate in 2017, authorities said Tuesday, blaming score-settling between gangs and drug trafficking for the rise.
That works out to a rate of 12.1 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
The number of killings "is the highest in the history of the country," the deputy director of the Judicial Investigation Organism, Michael Soto, told a news conference.
Much of Latin America suffers from homicide rates higher than the world average of 5.3 per 100,000 inhabitants given by the World Bank.
By comparison, the United States has a murder rate of 4.9 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to recent FBI data.
The World Health Organization considers a murder rate of more than 10 per 100,000 to be an "epidemic."
In 2016, Costa Rica recorded 578 murders, unprecedented at the time.
Soto said 48 percent of the deaths in 2017 were from gang violence and 25 percent from drug trafficking, the latter most notably on the Caribbean coast and in the capital San Jose.
Other causes were domestic violence and brawls.
Soto said the outlook for 2018 was somber. "Since 2012 we have seen an increase and it's likely this curve will keep going up unless something extraordinary happens," he said.
He insisted, however, that "we are not losing control, and we are at the same level as in other societies."
Costa Rica is sandwiched between Nicaragua and Panama which, together, have relatively low crime and murder rates compared with El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to the north. The latter three countries, which accounted for 16,000 murders in 2016, provide the biggest source of undocumented migrants heading to the United States.
55 terrorists neutralized, 20 caves, 42 shelters destroyed since operation launched in Hakurk, Kani Rash regions
Defense secretary remarks come after a meeting with Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia at Pentagon
The latest crisis laying siege to the leading online social network has raised the specter that he has lost control of his creation and been naive about the unintended consequences of people sharing so much about themselves.
Lawmakers stared down a self-imposed deadline of midnight Friday, when federal funding was set to expire, and passed the mammoth package by a vote of 65-32, with hours to spare.
Allowing Peshmerga to vote twice in upcoming polls would violate Iraq’s national charter, Turkmen politician asserts
Case against Turkish President’s seven bodyguards over brawl in Washington was dismissed, says lawyer
Antonio Guterres says one in four people will live countries where lack of fresh water will be chronic or recurrent by 2050
Energy secretary says US should get ahead before Russia or China builds civil nuclear capability in the Kingdom
Negative impact on Chinese gowth would be greater if US expands tariffs and protectionist measures, rating agency warns
'We look forward to continuing our conversations' with Turkey, Heather Nauert says
Trump took to Twitter to announce the latest in a cascade of staff changes, one which calls the future of a landmark deal to curb Iran's nuclear program into serious doubt.
Humanitarian Relief Foundation has provided water to over 3M people across 36 countries
Before his removal by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) on Wednesday evening Iranian Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad was the head of Pilatus, the bank at the heart of a corruption scandal exposed by murdered Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Gunfight erupts between Hamas security forces and suspected perpetrators of Jan. 13 attempt on PM’s life
Foreign Ministry urges Iraqi officials to take necessary measures to eliminate security threats against Iraqi Turkmen
Terrorists plotting attack on Turkish military bases have been hit