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US Embassy security message warns for living in Escazu

I was surprised to read a message from the U.S. Embassy in San José, forwarded to me by one of our real estate agents, who is an American citizen. In the message, which you can read at the end of this blog in case you haven’t received it yourself, the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica warns all U.S. citizens traveling and living in Escazu, that their safety can be affected due to recent security incidents.

In the month of March, the security message explains, there have been three separate drive-by shootings in Escazu, resulting in the death of two Costa Rican citizens and a serious injury to a U.S. citizen.

I have lived in Escazu for at least 30 of my 35 years in Costa Rica and I have NEVER been shot at. Maybe I am not worth being shot at? Or maybe it’s because I am not a U.S. citizen? Maybe I behave like a normal citizen and I am not involved in the sports book business as one of them was, nor am I involved in drugs dealing even though I am your Marihuana friendly real estate broker in Costa Rica!

I have never seen a security message from the Costarican government warning those who travel to Boston to be aware that it can be dangerous there because of the bombings during the 2013 Boston Marathon.

For those who plan to get close to any school in the United States, be aware of shootings during 2014 in Jackson – Tennessee, New Haven – Connecticut, Roswell – New Mexico, Philadelphia – Pennsylvania, Chester – Pennsylvania, West Lafayette – Indiana, Orangeburg – South Carolina, Los Angeles – California, Carbondale – Illinois, Honolulu – Hawaii, Nashville – Tennessee, Palm Bay – Florida, Des Moines – Iowa, Bend – Oregon, Lyndhurst – Ohio, Salisbury – North Carolina, San Jose – California, Augusta – Georgia, Miami – Florida, College Park – Georgia, Greenville – North Carolina, Detroit – Michigan. You want to be really surprised and see some data on school shootings in the US?

A study done on homicide rates in 2012 by the United Nations shows that the United States of America shows a much higher percentage of homicides than Central America  as you can see in the map below. Maybe 2015 has other plans for Costa Rica and the United States embassy in San José, Costa Rica knows something we don’t?

Click to see large image

Unless you are involved in something illegal, there is nothing to be worried about and to my opinion that rule works where ever in the world you are living. Of course you can be the innocent victim of a crime that happens right in front of you and you might not be able to get away in time. But do you need to live in Escazu to have that happen to you?

Shame on the United States Embassy to scare future expats who don’t know anything about living in Costa Rica with such a security message. Non-informed readers of a security message like that might decide not to move to Escazu or Costa Rica because they’d think bullets fly through the air in Escazu every day.

I’d like to assure you that I feel perfectly safe to travel anywhere in the United States as well as I feel safe to live in Escazu and walk the streets at any time. That is MY security message to all who read this.

I would like to thank Rico of for his follow-up article on this security issue.

Below you will see the US embassy security message that was distributed through Costa Rica Living Forum:

FYI: ____________________________________
Sent: 3/20/2015 11:59:28 A.M. Central America Standard
Subj: Security Message for U.S. Citizens

The following information is provided as an overview of recent security incidents that, because of their location or nature, could affect the safety of U.S. citizens traveling and living in Escazú. During March, three separate drive-by shootings occurred in Escazú, resulting in the death of two Costa Rican citizens and serious injury to a U.S. citizen. One shooting took place by the Los Anonos Bridge, another near CIMA Hospital and the third in front of the Chez Christophe restaurant located on the west side of Paco Plaza in Escazu. U.S. citizens are reminded that crime and violence can occur anywhere, so always be aware of your surroundings and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow the instructions of local authorities. We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Costa Rica enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at website. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Costa Rica. For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s website. Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.

You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The U.S. Embassy/Consulate in San Jose is located at Av. O Calle 120, Rohrmoser. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy is 2519-2000.

Do you still agree that the U.S. Embassy should not have worry more about the problems at home, feel free to watch this video

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I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. I know you all meet people on the plane, in the supermarket, at yoga, at the gym, at the Blooms ladies club, at the potluck organized by your community. Please remember the GoDutch Realty agents when you talk about your home in Costa Rica, when you meet someone who wants to purchase one, we appreciate it.

We Love your Referrals at GoDutch Realty


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Ivo Henfling

If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the central Valley, or looking for any property for sale in Escazu, you need to call me. I have been selling real estate in Escazu for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and other areas. To me, a deal is not a good deal unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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