San Jose - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Pickpocketing in downtown or tourist areas. There is increasing crime connected to drugs. - Sep 2020

Yes, there is a lot of crime and its not that well understood in the US. You do have to be careful. It is very recent and things like homocide rates are way up, though random crime still seems less an issue than specific groups. - Jul 2018

Not worse than a typical large U.S city. Violent crime against expats is rare. - Dec 2016

Crime has increased greatly over the past few years, with drive-by assassinations and the increase in crime/murders in the forefront of news and politics. - Feb 2016

This is the safest country in Central America but that is faint praise. There are reasons for all the high walls, bars and razor wire. House break-ins are fairly common, but rare at Embassy houses protected by bars. Car break-ins are common too. Gang violence is becoming more common in troubled neighborhoods, occasionally spilling into nicer ones. The South Caribbean area is wonderful to visit but also plagued by crimes that target tourists. Safety-wise, driving can be a thrill, especially in the San Jose area. The number of Costa Rican vehicle owners grew relatively quickly, and you wonder how many of them learned by watching cartoons and each other. Motorcycles present the biggest peril, coming up on your right or left indiscriminately and heedless of turn signals. You will check your left-side mirror when turning left, and your right-side mirror when turning right. - Apr 2014

Typical concerns as in any big city. The most prevalent are smash & grabs while you're sitting in traffic. Also, there's been a rise in burglaries at banks & pharmacies in the embassy area. Some home invasions, but they typically happen in standalone homes rather than in a gated community. There are a few areas of the city that RSO has deemed off limits. They've also issued travel warnings to a couple of Caribbean costal towns. - Jun 2013

Ticos are very concerned about security. There are guards everywhere in the neighborhoods, specially in Escazu. I haven't had any problems, but people will always tell you horror stories. - Feb 2010

Crime is a growing problem. It is generally non-violent crime like breaking into cars and stealing the bags within them, or robbing houses when no one is home. Violent crime is less common, but it does exist. While we generally feel quite safe, you need to take the same security precautions as if you were living in any other major city. - Jan 2010

YES. I never had a problem, but I know people who did, including locals. Home invasions were becoming more and more popular in affluent Cariari, and the expat suburb of Escazu is also heavily targeted, including by people jumping drivers stopped at traffic lights. In Escazu the affluent expat houses have the ubiquitous guards with large rifles, and of course the rumors are that the guards can always be bribed. Again, I never had a problem, not once, I just heard of tragedies and misfortune from other people and read about these security concerns in the Tico times, the English-language newspaper. - Jul 2008

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