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Safety in Dominican Republic

Hi,

We would like to talk about a sensitive but important topic: do you feel safe in Dominican Republic?

How would you define the level of safety in the country?

Can you walk safely during the day and at night without any fear?

Do you think there is a high rate of criminality, social problems or tensions?

Share with us your insight on safety in Dominican Republic and in the city you live in.

Thank you in advance,

Christine

Well if you listen to the BS the hotels dish out you would never walk off the resort with out an armed escort.

However those of us who live here and the adventurous visitors really do not have a problem getting out and exploring.  Like anywhere in the world if you flash money or jewels you will get in to trouble. If you don't use you head and go into "dark alleys" or anywhere you would not go to at home or traveling elsewhere you will get into trouble.

We have lived here full time now for just over 9 years.  We go out regularly day and night and I have not looked over my shoulder once.  We feel perfectly safe being out and about.

That is not to say crime does not exist and the usual petty crime is here just as it is anywhere.  Major crime usually involves drugs, retribution, or a love triangle or other romantic screw ups.

So if visiting ignore the advice of the hotel, who are interested tin selling  you overpriced excursions for  exploring, and get off the resort.  Just use normal precautions and common sense.

I feel safer here than in many parts of Denver (where we moved from)

Bob K

I will respond as a single female who has been here almost 12 years:

do you feel safe in Dominican Republic?   YES I feel safe, but I use my brains and do act appropriately.  There were things I  could not do in Canada, why would I expect to do them here?  I act smart,  don't wear expensive jewellery or carry an expensive purse etc.  I do not make myself MORE of a target.  Yes as a foreigner we are bigger targets but by acting smart you can mitigate this. DO NOT carry wads of money,  do not flash money,  do not let people see your expensive electronics in your house etc. 

How would you define the level of safety in the country?  I feel as safe here as I did in Canada but you have to be smart.

Can you walk safely during the day and at night without any fear? Like everywhere there are places you do NOT go day or night. BUT for the most part I can go where I want during the day alone, at night not so much. I can go to a restaurant, grocery store,  movie theater etc at night alone but I do  not go clubbing alone or walk alone at night.  ITs not smart for a female to do this in many places, including here.

Do you think there is a high rate of criminality, social problems or tensions? There is an ebb and flow to this. For example there is more crime  close to Christmas when there is a lot of money on the streets.  There is more tension when things are happening in the country. You need to be aware and keep your ears and eyes open!

Again, I do not feel unsafe at all.  But I must always be aware of what is going on around me.

Can't say it any better than bob and planner.  I agree 100% with those comments.  I have lived in the country for 9 years and I have always felt safe.  I am often out at night and often on foot.  So far I have had no problems.  But I don't walk into barrios (hoods) and stay on the standard path.  The only time I walk into a barrio is if I know people there or when I lived in the barrio (obviously I knew everyone there when I lived there).

Hi Christine dear!

This is a very sensitive topic indeed as you said.

I totally agree with both, gringa Planner and Mr. Bob  :)

I will be more specific based on my own experience. The criminality rates are higher in the bigger cities like Sto Domingo, Santiago, Pto Plata, Bavaro, Barahona.

I don't feel safe to walk any time of the day in Sto Domingo and I tell you why, as soon as you get noticed by the color of your white skin, you become a target.

Once I almost get robbed in a "atraco: in Sto Domingo at the Blue Mall to be more exact after trying to get some money from an ATM, good thing I moved fast. After that I learned not to make money withdrawals in malls or public places. Unfortunately many of the guards that works in the malls, in the security camera control rooms, and at the door of the banks are accomplice with the thieves and they communicate quickly.

Another time I went to Bavaro town and at the barbershop I was getting a hair cut, they had a hidden brothel upstairs and the owner of the place didn't want me to leave without passing by and see the girls.

A  relative recently got robbed parts of her car that was parked for just 5 minutes outside of a gated community home.
Last week I saw 2 motorcyclists stealing the mirrors of a Land Rover suv, most of the time they are armed with guns and at this point you have to look at the other side and move fast. These are so far my own experiences however I'm very grateful to be here and nothing of these will change my mind about this great Island.

Some places that I have stayed and I can say that are safe in DR:

Pedernales
Cabo Rojo ( one of the best spots in DR to watch Sunsets :) )
Paraiso
Jarabacoa
Constanza
Bahouruco
Punta Rusia
Dajabon
Hondo Valle
La Descubierta
Mencia
Enriquillo
Bani & Las Calderas (one of my favorites)
Las Terrenas

Now getting more into your specific questions, here it goes:

How would you define the level of safety in the country?
A/ Definitely not too safe in the biggest cities like Sto Domingo and Santiago.

Can you walk safely during the day and at night without any fear?
A/In the country side and smaller towns, definitely yes.

Do you think there is a high rate of criminality, social problems or tensions?
A/ Please refer to answer 1 & 2 for criminality. Social problems yes, but I see the government working hard to eradicate most of them.Tensions ? oh well it's really tense when you get stuck in traffic here :) :) :) Like anywhere else in the world I suppose. The Dominican-Haitian differendum going on right now is something that has been exaggerated in social media platforms and the Haitian Elites, and orchestrated by the US and the EU's hidden agendas.


Cheers.

Wow,  my experience in Santo Domingo was very very different - 4 years as a petite white girl and never an issue. I walked most places during the day, never a problem. 

And yes the social things are changing daily here,  they are getting exaggerated beyond belief in the media. There are huge  political agendas being played out! 

The real  victims here are Dominicans and Haitians. No one really cares about them and what is happening - it is all political!  And I mean nationally political and internationally political!

Only visited SD 10 times or so and never really felt threatened. 

Bob K

Ahhhh lots of this comes from competing islands for tourism. You will get killed if you go the Rep Dom. Don't go there you will die!!! They love to Bad mouth us.
I feel perfectly safe as long as my wife is with me. hhhahaahaa she is meaner than a pit bull if PO'd by an attacker.
Seriously I worry more about theft more than anything. They will steal just about anything that is worth 50 pesos or more.
If we catch them we beat the caca out of them.

That is so true  instant justice I call it.  I watched a crowd chase a thief up a street ( actually up a hill)  police stood at the bottom and watched the crowd beat the crap out of the guy..... police stepped in only when it got too far.....

There is something to be said for street justice.

Bob K

Although I have been attacked, they even attempted to kidnap me and I got off because I only have a debet card and not an unlimited credit card so the "incentive" was gone, I still feel relatively safe here. I do not live in one of the larger cities and I keep a low profile, and that is what everybody should do, even tourists. Besides, I live like one of the people in my bario, I do not have more money then they do and I try to get along with the people I live with.

The social tensions are caused not by the people who live and work here, from whatever country, but by officials who are underpaid, under-educated and overworked. I agree with Planner, there is an ebb and flow of social tensions and of the level of security. Be aware of what is going on around you and act accordingly.

Follow the laws, rules and regulations, especially the unwritten ones, and you will be all right. I have  lived and worked in 14 countries all over the world and this is one of the best places to be, but you have to live here and not allow your heart, mind or whatever part to stay in your home country.

Hi Christine,

In response to your post about safety in Dominican Republic, I would say that in the city where I live, Punta Cana, it's extremely safe, just like in a small town in Canada. I can walk alone at night without any fear.  Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about other cities. The most dangerous place to live in DR in my opinion (based on past experiences) would be Santo Domingo.  I do not feel safe at night or during the day, enough that I don't wear any jewels during my visit in the city nor bring any valuables. I keep my car doors locked at all times and windows closed. If I have to go out at night, which I try to avoid, it is with some sort of body guard / driver that I gladly pay for his services when needed.

Best regards,

J.

Yes Punta Cana is probably one of the safer areas because of all the tourist.  But that is not living in the DR to me. 

Bob K

hi, ok honest questions and honest answers.

I do not feel safe, been robbed before, the culture here in sosua is the worst I have seen in 8 years of living here, too many girls on the streets and too many men looking for them

the police are corrupt, they have no shame to shake me down or my friends.

I wish the city would clean up the streets once and for all

Actually I am finding less girls around at night (not that I am looking) in recent months. 

Bob K

It's all about giving the right information.

Just this past weekend the sister of the Minister of Interior and Police got assaulted at her home. Also, one just have to look around and see how ALL homes looks like a jail full of iron bars, and Don't tell me now that this is how Dominicans decorate their home's façade.

Ok I won't tell you that it is for decoration....but many times it is.

I know a local Dominican lawyer in a very secure gated community who has bars on the windows.  Why I asked him.. because it is the way Dominicans decorate their windows and doors.  I have seen may homes owned by Dominicans in secure communities and they are the only homes with bars....

Bob K

It is the way it has been for years and years and not about to change.  Bars on windows and doors are necessary. Does that mean it is inherently not safe? no. it doesn't.  Am I going to live without them? hell no that is looking for trouble.

In our community the only one that has them is a Dominican Family

Bob K

Many Dominicans that I have spoke to including in law relatives have said this is to protect the house from thieves, not for decoration.

That IS the primary reason for sure.  But I think SOME bars are also decorative.  I have a front gate that has bars that anyone over  4 feet tall can get over  - they are decorative. But the bars on my doors and windows are for security.

we have an eight foot wall with round pipe embedded on top, razor ribbon, steel spikes and barbed wire, security cameras, security alarms, steel spikes under the steel gates, burglar bars on every window even the change house in the back yard., then the pitbull. We are safe in our little Rikers Island. jajajajajaja thieves will steal anything.even if its worth 5.00

I wanted to grease the top pipe but my wife thought it was enough

santo domingo was voted one of the top 25 unsafe cities in the world a few years ago

TexasDonkey! That's funny!

The DR is like Thailand in lots of ways. One way is if a gringo goes there, with money, buys things, etc, you can be sure that over time, some or all of it will go to the local population. That's just how it works.  It could be stolen, or you might marry or your GF ends up taking things. One way or another, your stuff flows to the have nots. It's how the universe works. So enjoy things while you can and not worry about tomorrow :)

Texas that sounds more like a prison than a home.

Bob K

like I said bob, Rikers Island.   On the outside.We like it. No gets inside our casa easily. But inside there is no prison in the world as nice. We do not care what the outside looks like.

This is true in life. It is what is on the inside that counts.
Bob K

Well, looking back, I think slowly it is getting worse here.
I recall not long ago that German guy being robbed and shot dead  in PP Sirena car park in broad daylight, could not image that kind of thing happening a few years ago.
Of course bad things can happen in any country, but the criminals here seem to be getting very brazen and ready to use guns without hesitation.

Only yesterday in Sosua 3 criminals brazenly walked into someones house in middle of birthday party and they were robbed at gunpoint.Shortly after they struck again ripped gold chain of a guy getting into his car and this time fired shots, luckily the guy was not hit... and of late there have been quite a few robberies at gunpoint and a number of house break-ins. .and in Cabarete other day a Dominican woman was robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight after withdrawing cash from Banco Popular.

So yeah its fairly safe, if you keep low profile and use sensible precautions, but think one needs to keep an eye on the situation as it does seem to be going downhill.

For those who can read Spanish, I leave this article of this Dominican journalist and university professor, that was just published 3 days ago and talks about the rampant violence these days in D.R. and what is causing it:

http://www.7dias.com.do/opiniones/2015/ … a6hw-lRGig

Enjoy.

I am Dominican

Does anyone know where you can buy mace or pepper spray?

I will ask my daughters, they have it and stun guns also

There is a shop in Sosua next to the Jolly Rodger

Also contact Leon at Crimestoppers - facebook.com/groups/crimestoppersdr

Bob K

when I moved here in 2009 it was a different city, there were american and european families here on the street with their children, now you never see them and why? pedro clisante is a den of mongors looking for girls and girls looking for mongors. I have not been out at night in 3 years. I also have been robbed and the police do nothing. the up side is the core people are nice and sweet. why they do not stop this behavior on the street and allow the people who really live here, spend money and buy homes enjoy it as before, or is it beause the politiians are in on it all?

Thanks for posting the link. Very well written, the author is very accurate in his writing. I remember when values where held very high in the DR, but i'm sure It's more complex then just a lost of family values that have cause this downhill spiral.

That comment is specific to a few "sex tourism" areas. They have been like that for years and yes sometimes they try to clean up.......  I just don't go there.

Planner, you are correct. I moved to Sosua in early 2002. It was always the same, especially at night when it was more obvious. They have changed it some.  Now open solicitation on the streets & sidewalks Gets the chicas busted. If the "mongers" are overly aggressive, & too overt, they get popped also. The natural human desire for sex shall never diminish, It is all about how it is attained.Some more enlightened countries handle prostitution in a more intelligent manner.  Specific areas set aside for handling this issue.  We could learn from them. It is not brought    about by poverty.  Some of the most expensive sex is to be had in the richest countries!      Grin & bare it, or do I mean,  grin& bear it?

I have lived in Sosua full time for over 9 years now and it basically the same today as it was when we got here.  We still enjoy going out to town for dinner and activities, and do so 3 or more times a week.  We just avoid the two block area for the most part.

Tomorrow night there will be three restaurants/bars with live music.  I will be at two of them for sure.  Just ignore the "crap" and you will do fine. 

Bob K

Know where to stay away from, how to behave and use elbows when needed.......  I do agree legalize it, clean it up, tax the crap out of it and it's all good.....

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