“What are some common misconceptions people have when they hear you are retired in Costa Rica?”
We’ve been living in Costa Rica for almost six years and have to admit, there are a few misconceptions some folks have about our lives here.
Misconception #5: Aren’t you afraid? Isn’t there a lot of crime there?
Many North Americans automatically think that the crime rate is very high here, including homicides. They envision a lawless society where people are running around the streets, brandishing weapons, and engaging in shoot-outs over drugs and territory. They automatically lump Costa Rica in with Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, the murder capital of the world. All of these countries have tremendous problems with crime and their governments’ inability to stem it. Latin America generally has had a reputation for instability, coups, high-level corruption, drug-cartels, and lawlessness. All they see on U.S. television is violence, violence, violence and, for many, that is reality. As they say, good news is not news, so people back home only hear the negatives.
Costa Rica, however, is a relatively safe country, with a homicide rate of approximately 11.5 per 100,000, most of which involves drugs or domestic violence. Quite often, the victims and perpetrators know each other. But this is not the reality of most expats retiring in Costa Rica. We have always felt safe here. The most common crimes here are crimes of opportunity – houses left empty are broken into, luggage left visible in cars is stolen, and cameras carried by tourists walking in remote locations are taken.