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FTI Consulting has published its 2014 Latin America Security Index, ranking Costa Rica as the safest country in Central America and one of the safest countries in the whole of Latin America, Inside Costa Rica reports.
Of the 19 countries identified in this ranking, the Latin America Security Index finds that Venezuela, Honduras and Guatemala are the most dangerous countries in Latin America, while Costa Rica, Chile and Uruguay are the safest.
How seriously should one take the FTI reports? The comments following the Inside Costa Rica story give some indication:
"This report is not especially convincing," posts Ken Morris. " Without more methodological detail, it's really hard to know what the facts are. Note, however, the the firm is forthright in claiming to be measuring government response to crime as well as crime.... Reading between the lines, Costa Rica is apparently getting bonus points for outfitting its cops with new 9 mm pistols and safety vests, buying new squad cars, etc., whether or not any of this affects the crime rate, which it probably doesn't much. It looks to me like Zamora's PR campaign is succeeding."
Comparing his experience in Panama with that in Costa Rica, Frank Castle writes:
"I felt a lot safer in Panama. The people were very friendly and the law enforcement was prominent but polite. I never felt that I was in danger of being robbed at any time. In Costa Rica, except the far south, I didn't have that confidence and felt I always have to be vigilant."
Chris Thomas posts: "Crime is much much higher most people do not report it why bother the police will do nothing, homicides are ruled as suicides or death by natural causes, immigration tourism stats are greatly inflated they count all the Nicaraguans coming to work, the Costa Rica government is one of the most corrupt on planet earth they are just great at marketing the country as something safe."
John Anthony writes: "Costa Rica as the safest country in Central America? What?? Is it their early April fools day joke? I left after 7 years because the crime there was getting out of hand, and the police doing nil about it. I was afraid going out at night, or back to my favorite bar, which got held up."
For what it's worth, none of the readers of Inside Costa Rica who commented agreed with the ranking, which, in my humble opinion, seems like just another "tallest midget contest." Costa Rica is safer than Honduras -- well, congratulations!