QCOSTARICA – Insecurity and criminality top the country’s biggest problems this year, above economic situations such as the cost of living and unemployment, that continue to cause concern among people and that have occupied the main positions since the shock of the pandemic in 2020.

35% of the people surveyed by the Center for Research and Political Studies of the University of Costa Rica (CIEP-UCR) indicated that insecurity is the greatest national anguish at this time, while 18% indicated that it is the cost of living and the economic situation and 16% pointed to the lack of work, now that unemployment is at 11%.

The last time that insecurity was the main problem in the country was at the end of the government of Luis Guillermo Solís, in March 2018, according to the history of CIEP-UCR surveys.

While 2022 was the most violent year in the country’s history, this year (2023) is surpassing it in homicide figures, insecurity and rise in crime, which typically occupied the third or fourth place is now the greatest anguish of the people, despite the repeating messages that the government of Rodrigo Chaves has given that all is under control.

Read more: CIEP-UCR survey: Popularity of President Chaves Drops 20%

The survey was carried out in the week between April 12 and 21, during which President Chaves announced a plan to combat insecurity, centered on a measure to increase the number of police on the streets, that 48 hours later had to be suspended due to protests in angry officers with the intention of cutting their days off.

Read more: President Chaves announces reversal of decision on working hours for police

This occurred after the Union of Business Chambers (Uccaep) asked the government to declare a “national emergency”, and warning of the damage it also has for economic activity, the bad image for potential tourists and the costs faced by people and businesses to invest for their security.

In addition, the United States Embassy recalled in March that it warns its citizens about the need to take measures in Costa Rica to avoid being victims of crime, while in the president of the Legislative Assembly, Rodrigo Arias, convened a group to propose necessary legal reforms against crime.

Chaves acknowledged that in 2022 crime “se nos salió de las manos” (we lost control), but in the typical fashion of his style of leadership, later said that his government had no responsibility for the indicators of that year and that this year the problem comes from the past, pointing the fingers of blame on the Judiciary and the Legislative Assembly, in addition to the media, “wanting to show a crisis.”

Results of the survey taken between April 12 and 21, 2023: Insecurity and criminality takes top spot, ahead of cost of living and unemployment

The subject of one of the questions in the survey was the Government’s ability to solve this and other problems and the results show that six out of ten people (22.6% have a total lack of trust and 37.9% say have little trust) are distrustful of the government, while 26.2% say have “some” and only 13.4% answered “a lot” of confidence.

“According to the data from November 2022, 49% indicated little or no confidence, compared to 51% who indicated having a lot and some confidence that the current government can solve the main problems of the country”, indicates the report.

In addition, in August 2022, 41% of those surveyed believed that the Chaves government could solve the problems and 33% indicated that it could partially solve them, compared to 26% who indicated “no way”.


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