Carrying camera - is it safe?

Hi all. With all the talk of robberies and not carrying "luxury" goods around, I'm beginning to wonder if it will be safe to carry my camera (an expensive camera) around. It is sort of a decided downer if I can't feel safe about taking photos. Photography is one of my main hobbies.

Take your shots, then replace your camera in a backback. Don't leave it lying around on the beach, table, etc.

Thanks for the response.  I do carry my camera gear in a backpack, except my tripod. I would not leave my gear on a table or beach unattended for even a moment, even in the U.S. I'm not concerned about a snatch and grab. I'm a big guy to try to snatch stuff from.  I'm more concerned about someone seeing the tripod and backpack, pulling a knife or gun, and demanding it.

Not much probability of anyone wanting to steal a tripod...but use caution if traveling by bus.

Use a 'regular' backpack and not one made specifically for cameras with brand name on it.

Sorry if I was unclear kohlerias. I meant that, because I was carrying a tripod, thieves would figure out the backpack held camera equipment, and go about robbing me.

Leave the tripod at home... :unsure

Not an option for a serious photographer.

Maybe I'll just need to explore safer places than Costa Rica.

Maybe I asked this in the wrong way.  No one wants to assure me that I will not be robbed. Given that there is a lot more crime in Costa Rica in recent years, is there an insurance policy I can buy there against this kind of personal theft?

Once living here, you could purchase household insurance, although in the case of burglary and/or robbery, you must be able to prove it happened.

Well, thanks for your responsiveness. I'm torn. On the one hand, I think maybe I should just get cheaper gear. On the other, I wonder if, once you have resident status, you can get a permit to carry a handgun?

You can't apply for a permit to have/carry a weapon until you are a Permanent
Resident, which will take 4-5 years after your initial application.

Anyone know if Panama is safer?

I reviewed the U.S. State Department site, and apparently, Costa Rica is slightly safer than Panama, but Costa Rica's crime rate is rising substantially and Panama's is falling.  They rate both as having a "high" crime rate.

well I hope you do not think OTHER countries are safer than Costa Rica NOT SO!
  JUST take photos in a SAFE areas... YES WE DO HAVE THEM NO MATTER WHAT  SOME PEOPLE HERE SAY..THEY HAVE BOUGHT IN WRONG AREAS AND ARE BITTER ABOUT BEING ROBBED ETC..I HAVE NOT AND HERE IN HEREDIA HILLS 26 years I still cannot fathom why the Donny Downers are still living in Costa Rica ???

I would love to know who "They" are ...

Thanks for your note pebs.  It's not just what people say on this board. According to the U.S. State Department, crime has really soared in Costa Rica in the last few years. Now they may turn that around next year. I don't know. If I already lived there, I would do exactly as you're doing. Make the best of it, and hope they turn things around. As someone starting out, it looks more promising to move somewhere where the crime rate is decreasing rather than increasing.   But there's no perfect decision. I could move somewhere with a low and decreasing crime rate and that could turn around after I moved there.


Stop worrying, YOU live in the U.S.  Seriously, I feel MUCH safer living here than I did living there.  As someone already eluded to, if you don't go into the bad areas of San Jose or Lemon, specifically at night, your chances of being robbed, especially at gun point are slim.  People don't carry guns here like they do in the States.  People are not angry here like they are in the States.  I have not met a racist since moving here.  Even the bad guys don't "look" bad or evil like you see in the States.

Most crimes here are petty crimes.  Violent crimes are rare-except in the metropolitan areas.  Not something that can be said of of the U.S.  If you are not into drugs or prostitution, it's doubtful you'd be in the areas of concern.  Most of the time when you read about something happening to a Gringo here, you then read that it was two or three in the morning and they'd just left the bar.

I have friends that carry their very expensive cameras everywhere they go without hesitation.  Ticos are MUCH less violent overall than Americans.  Their life styles are much more family oriented.  Don't go where you know you shouldn't be and there is little chance you will have any issues.

You might want to look up New Mexico's crime rate vs. Costa Rica's.  You may be quite surprised.  You're living in the 2nd most deadly State in the U.S.

I am saying all of this so that anyone considering a move here, especially if they are coming from the States, need to realize the violence they are coming from and not be overly concerned coming here.

Relax and enjoy.

- Expat Dave

Thanks to all who posted.  Please don't spend any more time on this post. I decided not to spend years in Costa Rica. I'll still visit!

Peticola ..SO TRUE! You have the right attitude ..come on down:)

I was very sorry to hear of the Canadian tourist who died in Puerto Viejo after being robbed of his camera and equipment while on his way to take some photos of a sunrise.

People, please keep your equipment under wraps...and keep your plans quiet.

kohlerias :

I was very sorry to hear of the Canadian tourist who died in Puerto Viejo after being robbed of his camera and equipment while on his way to take some photos of a sunrise.

People, please keep your equipment under wraps...and keep your plans quiet.

It was very disturbing to hear about the murder, and whatever information the police have, please share it here if it is available, thank you.

If the photographer left a bar at 4 am to take pictures of the sunrise, that is a dangerous scenario.

If he left his hotel at 6 am to take pictures, that is another.

Both scenarios are tragic, of course.

Very little information regarding this crime, on the Costa Rican news.

Added link … ity/57548/ to full article.

"The tourism industry in Costa Rica is the most dynamic sector of the country’s economy, and it continues to grow year after year, however, the different crimes committed against tourists, are hurting the image of the country, the most recent case took place last Sunday morning when Canadian tourist Bruce Craig McCallum was stabbed to death in Puerto Viejo, Limón when he was taking photos of the sunrise, the reason? They wanted to steal his camera".

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