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Costa Rica recorded its highest-ever annual murder rate in 2017, authorities said this week, blaming score-settling between gangs and drug trafficking for the rise.
The nation of about five million people, still considered one of the safest relative to others in Central America, saw 603 homicides last year, according to preliminary data from the police service responsible for investigating them. 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, said at a news conference.