Safety in Dominican Republic

Planner the article did not say the cops killed the wrong guy, it basically says the gentleman who turned himself in, admits to comitting the crime along with the second suspect who is now in custody.....He never implicates the 3rd suspect who was initially shot and killed by the police, thereby leading me to conclude the 1st suspect had nothing to do with the murder of the German Tourist. 

      I have noticed many saying that these types of crimes can happen anywhere which is true, but we must admit there are many countries where crime is very low and these types of incidents are very rare....Japan is a very good example of this.  Japan only had 4 murders with a firearm in 2015.....Now how does that compare to D.R.? There is obviously some major issues going on in D.R. Mainly due to factors I mentioned in a previous post. As far as perception goes, that German had the perception that he would be safe outside his resort walls.  Why should the tourist not feel safe wearing his chain as he does in Germany? Especially if no one warned him or if he had done so safely in other countries? Like I said before, know the beast you are about to deal with before you venture out! The Malecon in general is designated as a tourist area, he was not in a barrio looking for why would he not assume he would be protected as a tourist in a tourist area? His perception was probably one of safety, but he obviously got it wrong.
Here is an article on why Japan has a low crime rate … low-2014-4

Kat11 i also agree with you a 100% but like I said before, it is a matter of odds. In some places the odds will be either in your favor or agaist you.  There will also be certain factors which will also lower or increase your chances such as, age, gender, wealth, dwelling.....etc You should not have to worry about these things, but may I ask you? Would you say that chances of something bad hapoening are increased in a place like the Middle East or certain territories in Africa? As compared to Japan?

      My point is there are realities which can't be ignored and taken for granted.....survival depends on many things, and mainly on the actions you take to insure it.  As a foreigner you will always stand out and in some cases seen as a target, if you can accept that and be aware then all is cool.
      I know both Bob and Planner have had their incidents there. Bob you mentioned a while back you had your chain snatched and thank goodness you did not suffer a horrible faith, and planner in your recent car accident if my memory does not fail me, you were pushed into oncomming traffic by another vehicle, then physically handled by the same irrate driver and thank goodness it did not go any further. Could this have happened in the U.S. Or Canada? Yes, but more than likely in both your cases these incidents might have been more based on opportunity and gender due to certain socio-cultural factors. There are definitely countries and cities where you can safely go about your bussiness and not fear someone taking your chain, but you must be aware of where you are and take the necessary caution, if you do not wish to proceed with caution, then you are pretty much gambling.

Quite right. It's just the PC line to say these things can happen anywhere. The reality is that some places are way safer, or more dangerous than others.

Here is a list of the top 10 countries with the lowest crime rates in the world. Would I feel safe wearing a chain there? Hell Yeah! It is cool to be PC, but let's not put on blinders to justify certain realities. … rime-rate/

Yep, there are definitely places I would not move to, ride through or walk through! But even on a normal day in my own town and what I feel are safe surroundings you have to be aware. When I finally get to the DR my Husband and I will get our routine down (or maybe mix it up to be safe lol!) of enjoying breakfast, shopping for fresh vegi and fruit, beach walk, afternoon drinks, dinner and more drinks:-)) and always be home before the crazies decide to get crazier lol!!

Honey you have my accident all wrong. I wasn't pushed I to traffic, I was turning left, almost stopped and was hit head on by a motorcycle doing 100 kmph. Then people stopped to help me and make sure I would be ok.

It wasn't at all what you remember, no one laid a hand on me they were helpful in a bad situation.

Anyway let's get back to staying safe. We can all agree that it isn't always safe here and that it isn't just here!

Now how do we improve the likelihood of staying safe?

My apologies then planner, for some reason I thought I read that you ended up having an altercation with a driver of some sorts....must have confused your story with someone else. You are correct the focus should be on educating folks on how to be safe while either living or visiting D.R. My one suggestion would be to at least have extra cash on you in some place other than your wallet or purse if you get robbed....most of the crime is a quick hit and by the time they ride off, you will at least have some cash left to get in a cab and get yourself to safety.  Money belts or Bra's with cash pockets work really well. :cool:

I like your attitude Kat..... :) be safe, be smart, and enjoy the adventure :cool:

No worries Massagewiz, all good!   

Good advice, split your money up.

So, we are coming into POP Saturday with my mother and the kids.  This is their first visit and I have to admit, I'm more nervous about safety with them along than I am when it's just my husband and I.  We get in around 7 PM and will be grabbing dinner on the way to the one night rental house.  And then my husband and I thought we might get to la sirena before they close to get our shopping done and leave early Sunday to the house in Cabrera.  Is this advisable?  If we have to wait until 9...and then leave Puerto Plata by 10...we're cutting into our otherwise short vacation...but, if it's risky then that's what we'll do.

Where are you staying?

Bob K

At a rental in la estancia

la sirena should be open till 10pm or so.

Bob K

You should be fine....

OK...we'll do some late shopping...😁


Bob K

USA is one of the most powerful countries of the world. It has been the world leader in so many aspects but the people in the country are still suffering from crimes- small and serious ones. The crime rate of USA has sparked to 73% compared to 2013. Street crimes are abundant, hate-related crimes, road accidents. Rape and smuggling are also some of the top crimes in the country.

Read more: … z4dE4AFGcO

I think much of U.S. crime is racially-motivated: resentment over the cruel enslavement of the blacks and the genocide of native Americans.  Both issues probably apply to the DR: the Island of Hispaniola was the scene of the original native American genocide inflicted by Christopher Columbus and his successors.  Then, they enslaved Africans to work on the plantations.  What horrible atrocities and the anger is not easily healed with continuing prejudices.

As an American, I beg to differ with you on the reason for our crime rate. I would say that most robbery is a result of poverty, lack of education, drug addiction or alcoholism. Murder can be motivated by any number of reasons and rape is generally always about power. Not everything in America is racially motivated contrary to what the media would like for you to believe. Just one American's opinion.

Let's get down to the heart of the issue. The   real issue is sin is at the heart of every man. This world is gravitating more and more towards an ideology that has nothing to do with Christ. Until we realize that education is not the problem and nor is poverty  those things have been around for many of years. Christ told us to days like these will come .

We will keep religion out of the thread please.

What is the best legal defensive weapon allowed for an expat that isn't a gun? Just curious. We don't have dogs...yet, but we only vacation there currently...but, still would like some defensive capabilities. I have come to love all the iron work on our doors and windows...

Dogs are great.  Bars are great.  Be very aware who you invite into your house.  People talk and say things others overhear, that can be risky for you.

In the streets be very aware of what is around you, who is around you.  Don't go into certain areas at night or alone!   Each area has those  places!   Its no different then other countries in that respect.

Weapons - good old machete.  I have them in my house / apt at all times.
Depending where i am going I carry mace.
I also own a taser that is on my bedside table. I do not carry it outside the house.

Be advised that using any or all of these can get you into trouble. What the law says and how it is used against us can be different.

I always have a lawyers name programmed into my phone, just in case it is needed!  Know who you will call in case of problems!

Thanks for posting, but unfortunately for me, none of those countries appeal to me.

It so happens that I have to use a walking cane to help me walk. So I bought a doorknob, filled it with pure cement and pressed it on a peace of broomstick cut to size. Let it dry well and it gives you a weighted stick. I do not know about the legality of it, but having a walking stick certainly is legal. Do not try to fly home with it however!

Since I also take a Rocky, half breed Pitbull, for a walk every day, I haven never had to use it in self defence. That is the best solution, get an omptessive but friendly dog and take it for a walk every day, so people get to know you as a dog owner. At night he guards our house as well, barking like crazy when he thinks anything is happening.

How well do you get known in your negborhood and beyond? A few weeks ago two men passed our house at night, and I could hear one of them say to the other one; "Aque no, aqui tienen un Rocky." (Not here, here they have a Rocky.)

In response to Planner's previous post about safety:

I live in a top rated place in the US, I do not yet have a carry and conceal permit, but I do keep my doors and windows locked at all time, including when I am in my car.  I have a home security system, a gun in the house, a ferocious barking dog, and keep a machete in my car at all times.  In the past, I have also carried pepper spray or mace, which at the moment, I have neither of as they were confiscated at the Canadian border.  I have also taken basic self-defense courses designed specifically for women. I try to be consciously aware of my surroundings at all times, even before walking out the door of my own home, or when loading or unloading items from my car in my own driveway.  To a large extent, I would like to believe that both my husband (a former Marine) and I also possess good street sense.  I am not paranoid, just raised by parents who taught me to practice good personal safety, which I have tried to pass on to my children.

To a large extent, what I'm trying to say is that I (we) do everything I know to do to personally keep myself safe, however, even in doing so, I know that that is no guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen to me.  An example of this is my experience with the city of Samana, not the peninsula per se, but the city itself.  Without going into all the details, my husband and I traveled there last October.  We did our due diligence before traveling there and knew the area was "iffy", but decided to go and see for ourselves.  We stayed at a resort where numerous employees assured us it was safe to leave the premises and go into town, which was a very short walk.  We trusted their word.  Our thinking was why would the resort employees tell us it was safe if it wasn't.  That could potentially result in bad business for them, and they wouldn't want that, right?  And, after all, they had already told us certain places to absolutely stay away from.  So with some apprehension we decided to venture out and give it a try.  Afterall, that's what we were there for, to see the area.

That was mistake number 2.  The first mistake was listening to the resort employees to begin with.  The moment we hit the main street, the locals were on us like white on rice, and would not take no for an answer.  They (more than 1) actually followed us, hounding us for money the whole time.  One block of this and we turned and headed back for the resort with them still on our heels.  Definitely not a good situation at all.  I considered us lucky that we got out of there without anything worse than that happening.  When we reported this to the resort employees who had told us that it was safe, they merely grimaced and said, "Oh that's too bad.  The people are very poor and very hungry." 

Lesson learned:

Regardless of how informed or trained we may think that we are, regardless of how many precautions we may take, regardless of anything we have heard from others, nothing can prepare us for experiences that we have not yet had ourselves.  Prior to visiting Samana, I had even asked Dominican friends who live in Santiago about this area.  The response I received from them was, "Ah, you are going to love it.  It is very, very beautiful, but many of the people are very poor."  Not once did anyone communicate it is unsafe or dangerous.  Not once did anyone communicate do not leave the resort.  I've now come to understand that the words indigenous, poor and not a tourist area translate into a very different definition than what I previously held and it was only my personal experience that taught me this.

My advice to those looking to travel in the DR.  Listen to the advice that expats living in the DR give you.  They are there.  They possess a greater knowledge and understanding of the people and the ground situation, but even that's not a guarantee.  Due your due diligence to prepare yourself to the best of your ability.  However, proceed cautiously.  Unless someone is willing to speak plain language to you, your understanding of what they are saying can be completely different from what they are communicating, which could be PC or personally motivated.  And, as Planner always says, don't trust anyone!  Just because someone says something doesn't mean it's true.  And, regardless of what part of the world you are in, don't ever think that your mentality is their mentality.

Hope this helps someone.

Wantabe good post, and you are right about not trusting basically anyone till you have a relationship with them.
I always tell folks that you should have concentric circles of friends.  The inner most circle are those friends you trust with your life and can call on them whenever for whatever.  This is very a small number and for me here in the DR there are 4 of those. 
Next is the circle of good friends who you can basically rely on and you have common interests and actives with.  There can be a quite a few of those.
Then the circle of “friends” who you know, like and sometimes socialize with.
Then the circle of acquaintances who you may or may not spend time with.
People will move between these circles but very few are ever admitted into the most inner circle.
This scheme has worked for me no matter where we are living.

Bob K

So, I am getting some pepper spray and extra machete or baseball bat (used to come in handy when I is the national sport, right?) AND, most importantly, a wireless camera security system to cover our asses if we are forced to defend ourselves!

I have read this thread and understand all points of view here, and they all make sense.... The World is a dangerous place and we should all take precautions... I have traveled to a lot of remote destinations including Africa, Central America and a lot of the Caribbean islands.  Mostly for a week or two at a time....

I am now considering Sosua for 3 months and this does give me some pause. We are Gringos, with white skin. I have learned from this site not to drive, but hire a cab etc. etc.... I usually rent a car.. But we are still Gringos with white skin that equals targets.

But no matter what seems to happen to anyone of crime, is a 'blame the victim' mentality. It makes us feel better as we are smarter, and better equipped to dodge peril.

So where am I going with this?  What I would like to know are the crime statistics. Crime per Capita compared to New York City. That would tell me the real Danger. Anyone know that has researched this?

Greetings KDB-GUY I have a link which you might find interesting, but before I send the links I would like to say a few things.  The info you seek is available, but as to it's accuracy I can't vouch for that.  Many murders go unreported in the D.R. and as far as bothering to keep accurate stats, I wil say that it is not in their best interest to do so since tourism is a big attraction, and they do not wish to harm their cash cow.  Dominicans have a very skewed view of reality, many will deny that such issues exist either as a banner of pride or patriotism, but those who live outside the D.R. know very well what the deal is.
      As far as being gringos and being a target, that is accurate, but if you are a smart low key traveller you have nothing to worry about.  You will be fine if you stay out of bad neighborhoods, don't mess with drugs, stay away from the cops, don't get drunk in public or clubs, and negotiate payment for female companionship and age verification upfront.  Keep a loooooow profile and enjoy the amenities the island has to offer.  Violent crime for the most part happens between Dominicans, it rarely involves tourists unless they are involved in shady dealings or perhaps divulged a bit too much about their personal worth.  Would I say D.R. is safe? Yes, but fly under the radar, mind your bussiness, keep your wits about you, and most of all remember trust is something which must be earned and not given; that applies to locals and expats. Here are the links. … es-1488167

Massagewiz good post and thanks for the link.  I do know I feel safer at night in Sosua than I do in NYC.  You are so right. Low profile, stay out of dark alleys, don't flash money or jewels, say no to drugs, don't be stupid or have an attitude and you will do just fine here.
At least this has worked for me for the last 12 years.

Bob K

Great info.

Most crimes here are either crimes of passion or an inside job.

It is very important to understand this - you are judged here by who you associate with.  Be careful who you live with, befriend, who you drink with, who you are in business with, who you let into your home and who you employ! 

Live under the radar, do not trust easily or readily and keep your spidey  senses at the ready.

Being from Manhattan where the murder rate was under 300 this year ( lowest since 1951 ) and growing up when it was 2,200 a year, i can't shake that there danger from every corner. Here the danger the comes from behind the classic smile . I don't drive at night because of the problem of drunk drivers and donkeys crossing the street.
A danger comes from " come with me " which not a good idea. The countryside where in the town's in the interior where there are usually not many strangers is a problem . I don't carry anything that I am not prepared to loose. Don't resist if a gun is presented and look away. I keep 3-5 mil pesos in front pocket , this usually enough to satisfy them.
The thieves know that if caught , they have a very good chance of being shot by police in an attempt " to flee " .The same common sense used to ask about the dangers should work well here. Your more likely to loose your money by over paying for things.
Since a lot of crime comes breaking into homes at night you should be okey. If you read in the papers that tourist was decapitated , he probably was a pedafile.
Enjoy , and remember that classic smile !
Excellent question
John s.

Excellent response!

Sosua & the DR in general is probably safer than where you are right now. Common sense & a dose of street smarts will stand you in good stead. With more than 30 years of living on various Caribbean islands, all of them were more dangerous in feel & in fact than here.  You have survived all of your travels, you will survive here also. Welcome, relax & enjoy your stay.

Ok. I going to chime in with my 2 cents...based on our experience since 2015. Our home was broken into twice. Once it was unoccupied and the lights were left oft for one night. Burglar(s) broke off the pad lock on the bars in front of slider in front of living room and stole electronics and some power tools. The second time was recently while our renters were sleeping!  One of burglars crawled through a window that NO ONE should've been able to squeeze through and opened the door, giving free reign to at least two normal sized burglars who took all electronics without waking even their dog! Our neighbors both tried and failed to go without lost all their cell phones and the others were physically attacked!  Here in suburban Detroit, we leave door unlocked often (not on purpose) bikes in bars.  I do not feel like a target here.  I know we are definitely increasing our risk when we are there, we are 'wealthy' in comparison to the locals.  If it's just B & E when house is vacant, ok...but the violence I hear and know about  does give me pause.

Almost everyone uses  bars for a reason! Simple.

Yes we can be targets.  Yes you need y9 be more careful and you must try to understand the local mindset.

Most issues are with insiders,  someone who knows speaks to someone else. Next thing you know, breakin!

How about the window bars in N.Y.C.? Rejas, grill work, is emdemic throught the South, is normal through out the temperate zone & heavily populated cities worldwide.  Their existence does not predicate a higher crime rate.  Sit back, have a libation or two and  see the positive things in your life. Remember, not everyone gets the Flu.....

An interesting thread. I reside in Moca and it certainly has its share of problems when it comes to safety etc. We rent an apartment and as I have no car and everyone (right now) forbids me owning a motorcycle, I walk. I walk many places and have now learned my way around fairly well to all the locations to where bills must be paid and such. My lady and others keep trying to make me take a motorcycle taxi. I do not walk at night. I do not go the exact same route everywhere or every day but I do smile and say holla to anyone that looks me in the eye as we pass. And I always check behind and around me. Everyone needs to be responsible for their own personal safety and what it involves. Not everyone has the same kind of life experiences or training to recognize potential trouble or even know how to confront, dissipate or avoid potential issues. People are starting to recognize me now and some even wave or shake my hand as pass. As my spanish improves, and does have a long way to go, I'll speak more to more people. So, your personal area of safety is as much dependant upon you as it is all other factors we might expect from wherever we hail from. Cheers

You got it. Becoming part of your neighborhood and getting to know people is a critical part here!! Community looks out for each other!

New topic