home invasions and other dangers - plus... sheep

Hi guys,
We've been looking at both Portugal and Panama as we want to leave Canada.
We visited Panama for 2 weeks and liked it a bit. Made 2 friends.

My wife is from Guatemala and I already lived there for 4 years so we know how the area is.

However, we heard that there were some home invasions with violence in the past so we're wondering if it's still happening in Panama.

We were about to go to embassy of Portugal to apply to go to Portugal but I read that sadly there have been the same in Portugal so this makes us very frustrated. I don't think any place is "safe" anymore.
We prefer Portugal as an option, to be honest, but Panama is easier to get to with less paperwork to do. It may end up being a blessing in disguise, though unsure.

Those of you who live there, have you been hearing about home invasions? thefts? murders (not among gangs but targeting innocents)?

Also, do you guys notice loud music around you after 10PM or throughout the day? Latin American style with no consideration for neighbors?

The reason we prefer Portugal is that houses and land are super cheap and you can have lots of animals for cheap. I want sheep and other animals and fruit trees. Do you know if that's possible in Panama or are houses to close to one another?

Thank you!

Location location I live in a very safe place. Clayton - Pty. but I don’t know your budget. It’s horrorbly expensive. I would never pay it. My company pays so - I am just enjoying until I retire.  I infact was thinking Guatemala ! 
I only say what I was told. Stay out if certain parts of Panama City and Colon - I go out everywhere and feel safe.  I’m wanting to go to to the northern west coast and see if can live there off my SS check. I’m not sure. Again I think 🇵🇦 is about like Costa Rica. Nothing cheap - near the city. I don’t know about animals, but sounds like you rather live in Europe and maybe looking for the reason ?

Only the areas where People with money are retiring like Boquete and Coronado have had serious crime problems. The Azuero Peninsula has almost no crime in the latest government survey. Come visit Chitre, Las Tablas and the fabulous beach community of Pedasi. Check out the Facebook pages for Pedasi and our blog that my wife started before we moved in August 2013. www.ourthirdlifepedasi.com

having been a victim of a break in and knowing someone whose home has been violated 3 times now , i can say some areas and situations can and will lead to a problem . he and i both made some mistakes that cost us ,, he still has not completely solved the issues that make him an easy target .. i have and did in the home i lived in prior. no place is truly 100 % safe as there have been many break ins and killing in the city in really secure high rises . i feel perfectly safe in my home and the surrounding area but there are places in the city and even here in la chorrerra i would not venture after dark ,, that being said , panama is what you make of it ,,

Are you asking about Panama the city, or the country? The city is a big, busy city with high buildings, traffic, etc, not good for farm animals. The rest of the country however, of course, is different and mostly rural, agricultural areas. I would consider Panama very safe but of course there are no guarantees anywhere, and not all areas are the same in either the city or the interior.

I live in David, and Chiriqui grows tons of produce and fruit, has a thriving dairy industry, and other animals but I’m not sure if sheep are best suited to this tropical climate (maybe at higher, cooler elevations?)

I haven’t found loud music to be a problem. There is the occasional party, or music in the afternoon while working outside, but unless you live next to a bar or disco you should be ok.

As with any place you need to do your research. Crime in Panama has gone down in recent years. For the most part you just want to stay out of the areas where there is a greater population density that is relatively poor.

Panama is better also because permanent residency is easy for you to get through the friendly nations program. If it makes you feel better you can apply for a gun permit in Panama as well. In Portugal you will have to invest EUR 500,000 (depending on area) to get permanent residency. Portugal has a huge problem now with the never ending flow of illegal Africans.

Please feel free to contact me if you do consider Panama and need a good honest company to help with your Panama residency.

i had a gun permit so did my wife but has to be renewed and is a pain in the ass ,, i bought a shotgun easy enough ten years ago but hand guns are a pain in the rear ,, i now have a bbgun gas operated that shoots 6 bbs thru a tin can at one pull of the trigger ,, will do that 5 times in a row ,, is a great " get off me " weapon ,, is full automatic and for home defense is great ,, novey also sells hornet spray in a large can will shoot 21 feet and will blind the person if shot full in the face if they do not receive medical attention ,, and also i have imported wild fire pepper spray as strong or stronger than the police use ,, be prepared

Hi guys, thanks for your answers.

Joyfulfeet, it's easy to get residency for Portugal, it's just more paperwork. We would be getting the 1 year temp residency which is renewable for 2 years (After the 1st year) and once you reach 5 years, you can now apply for citizenship (used to be 6 years) or choose a permanent residency.

Haven't seen any complaints about illegal Africans from the myriad of people moving there (not saying that they're not there), but there are complaints about Eastern European causing crime :(, mostly in Algarve (we wouldn't move there). I honestly don't mind illegal people in countries as long as no real crime is committed (theft, murder, home invasions, kidnapping, etc.). Lots of them are people escaping their countries (and no, we're not illegals haha, we're citizens of 2 countries each).

As for Panama, we would not live in the city. Well, only at first yes, for paperwork, buying a car, and so on, and then move to more rural areas.

I've been doing research about Panama since 2014 (and we visited end of 2015) so I'm well aware of many things, but not everyone talks about home invasions and property thefts. I wanted to see how rampant is that problem.

Raz65 - Thanks for the information! If you need help or information about Guatemala, let me know :).
We know almost everything there is to know.

wolfmanmike :

he and i both made some mistakes that cost us ,, he still has not completely solved the issues that make him an easy target

Can you be more specific about these mistakes and the solutions?

i lived in the interior in a small town ,, with friends helpful neighbors ,, panamanians . i had dogs i depended on to alert us and protect us ,, no security doors ,, no bars on the windows , no security lights .. they poisoned  my dogs came in thru a screened window in the dark .. was during a festival ,, out of town gang .. due the fireworks and much drinking i paid no attention to the barking dogs until it was to late .. i got new dogs trained to not eat anything fed by another person ,, got security doors , bars on the windows and a dozen security night and alarms on windows and doors ,, my friend did some of that but not all and has had multiple break ends we had the one ,, he also lives in a very rural area and an isolated house ,, we also have live in caretakers that live on the property ,, i had 5,000 meters still do and 21 hectare finca both for sale ,,17 years here ,, but i live in la chorrerra in a semi gated community now keeping places in the country for sale

Thank you, wolfmanmike, for sharing that!

Did anyone here hear about any kidnappings happening in Panama?

Hola Ramouz
Kidnappings are not common in Panama as they are in other Latin American counties, in fact, I have never heard of any Tourist or Expat being kidnapped in Panama. We walk home from various venues in Pedasi, where we have lived since August 2013, late at night, 11, 12 or later and have always felt very safe. Check out my wife's blog about our adventures in Panama at: www.ourthirdlifepedasi.com

we have had a few kidnappings but were locals ,, rich Chinese are a target ,, a couple of babies stolen but returned , tourists no problem .. areas to avoid are easily defined and avoided. be alert to your surroundings ..

Thanks for the info. It's not about "tourists" because we want to live in Panama and not just be tourists.
The rich Chinese, is that the story with the 4 or something that were murdered?
About the baby kidnapping, glad they were returned but do you know how they were returned? Why were they stolen?
Was it at home or hospital?

was a local ,, she was setting in her home doors open ,, baby in carriage ,, some teenagers robbed her took her baby seen pushing the carriage down the street ,, but they stole her i phone ,, the police were tracking the phone and some dumb ass tv announcer put it on the air that they were tracking them down ,, believe that ,, they disabled the phone   but the punks were at their  aunts house and she turned then in ,, was all over the news for a day or two happened close by me
,, there was another baby stolen from a poor family but again family turned them in recovered the baby .. just in the last few months ,, yes their was another Chinese kidnapping did not make as much of a splash as the killings did ..

The twisted govt likes to tout decreased crime rates, especially violent crime and murder....I suppose its possilbe the murder rates are down. Not really sure about that, but I am sure that crime in general is rampant and on the rise.....I live in el campo bonito de Chiriqui, upcountry between Boquete and Vulcan.......Physically, geographically a great area, great climate full of rivers and swimming holes......A lot of the people are nice and normal and friendly andhelpful, but there are legions of bad boyz who have no problem whatsoever killing your dog (as they did mine) and breaking brutally into your house and turning it inside out looking for money, electronics, whatever thy can carry....Ive been robbed so many times I have lost count........The cops only show up for paperwork, and forensics is a joke......The justice system is decrepid and dysfunctional.......It may well be better in the Azuero Peninsla, in Las Tablas Pedasi, Tonosi, Cambutal areas.....Not too sure about it......But lots of foreigners living in that area and the coast is beautiful.........But Chiriqui is second or third probably after Colon and Panama City for crime......Its at plague proportions in Chiriqui. A friend moved to Santiago and was broken into there too...........Im currently living in a small city outside Medellin and it feels pretty good....Strong police presence.....more innocent humble camposino type people, but very friendly and affectionate and anxious to help......much higher culture here in Antioquia than Panama......no comparison.......and I dont have to sleep with a gun next to my bed and wake up at every little sound in the darkness.......

dumluk :

The twisted govt likes to tout decreased crime rates, especially violent crime and murder....I suppose its possilbe the murder rates are down. Not really sure about that, but I am sure that crime in general is rampant and on the rise.....I live in el campo bonito de Chiriqui, upcountry between Boquete and Vulcan.......Physically, geographically a great area, great climate full of rivers and swimming holes......A lot of the people are nice and normal and friendly andhelpful, but there are legions of bad boyz who have no problem whatsoever killing your dog (as they did mine) and breaking brutally into your house and turning it inside out looking for money, electronics, whatever thy can carry....Ive been robbed so many times I have lost count........The cops only show up for paperwork, and forensics is a joke......The justice system is decrepid and dysfunctional.......It may well be better in the Azuero Peninsla, in Las Tablas Pedasi, Tonosi, Cambutal areas.....Not too sure about it......But lots of foreigners living in that area and the coast is beautiful.........But Chiriqui is second or third probably after Colon and Panama City for crime......Its at plague proportions in Chiriqui. A friend moved to Santiago and was broken into there too...........Im currently living in a small city outside Medellin and it feels pretty good....Strong police presence.....more innocent humble camposino type people, but very friendly and affectionate and anxious to help......much higher culture here in Antioquia than Panama......no comparison.......and I dont have to sleep with a gun next to my bed and wake up at every little sound in the darkness.......

Oh my.. thanks for the warning. I think it would only work out well in Panama if we lived in a colonia.
How saddening to hear your story, but glad you have found a relaxing area in Colombia.

When we visited Panama for 2 weeks, the Colombians there told us that they felt free in Panama and can finally walk without worrying about theft. Your story is the opposite. What a mess is Latin America.

Hi, dumluk. What you wrote is scary! You lost count of the robberies?! You were robbed in your own house more than 10 times or what?! Were you at home during the robberies? Was it during the night? If so, did they have guns?

Yes, mas o menos 10 times.....most before I lived there....3 times since Ive lived there.......never when I was home......becuz they know I have weapons......They hit my Pana gringa viejita friend Grace on a domingo at 10pm ......4 of them with masks, and 2 guns.....several  shots fired......they beat her (83 yrs old) with a metal pipe, and pistol whipped her on the head to give her the combination to the caja fuerte, (strong box) but it was keyed, not a combination.....and Graces helper/worker had the key and ran off into the nite knowing they had guns......And at least two of them are the same guys who hit my  house and killed my dog......this I know....and cant explain here.........The cops show up pretty quick to take the report and do the paperwork......This is about all that is expected of them by law.......I think you have to offer to pay them extra to actually get results.......I had to do that in Costa Rica a few times........Its absolutely absurd........but true........And if and when they do actually catch the bad guys on another incident, they may recover your stolen stuff, but do you think that they would make it a point to return it to you? Never..........Now, the election is coming up, and the current administration is guaranteed long gone.......The PRD is most likely comin back in, and we shall see if they are able to put the house in order........Becuz it currently is faaaaar out of orde..........As far as any serious investment, I would say , "wait and see"..........meantime here in Colombia, at least the law permits you to defend yourself.......without going to jail........

17 years here had one incident ,, i have lived in 5 different houses and apartments ,, sounds like you were inviting break ins to me ,, after the first time i lived 2 more years same place never had another problem other than them stealing a boat motor right off my boat ,, i think the saying " doing the same thing over and over expecting a different results is a sign of " ????? " 5 years here same home not one instance in chorrerra ,, ok car window broke in front of house  stole what was in it ,, then again i had enough sense to fix the fence where they came thru ,, just saying a little common sense goes a long way ,, running away from a problem has never been a solution for me ,,

This thing is, this shouldn't be happening. We shouldn't have to be building fences, metal bars on windows, metal door to protect the door, barb wires, and so on. An alarm at home I understand but the rest shouldn't be required. Yet, it is, so that's what's strange about Panama, being one of the safest countries in Latin America.

true to a certain degree but my family lives in the states in rural areas have had as many or more incidents and people like to talk about how safe colombia is i have many friends there and even in sabanetas one of thE safest  places i have Ever stayed we had a robbery in broad day light on the street in front of everybody and he was grabbed before he got to the end of the block ,, and i had a tranny tried to steal my day date out of my back pocket within in sight of a police sub station in a church park in medellin ,  ,, so as they say  SHIT HAPPENS ,, i am 72 and go places most consider dangerous but i am aware at all times my surroundings ,,

Ok, so lets all recognize the Wolfman as the guru on personal safety then......But I think he has real estate for sale and so doesnt really want to let the "cat out of the bag" so to speak......Im certainly not saying that bad things cant happen in Colombia. That would be seriously erroneous......Im just saying Ive been traveling in Colombia 7 times and even thru war zones without a problem. This is the first time Ive actually lived here, and Im in a small city or big pueblo as they call it, an hour outside of Medellin and in a very nice and secure barrio with lots of eyes around........people are very nice and helpful around here......Ive always found that to be the case. Much more so than Panama.......And yes, crime has been on the rise again in Medellin for the last year or so......In Chiriqui Panama and in Costa Rica I lived in rural zones, not in populated barrios.......and to live securely in campo bonito in latin america, including here in Colombia, you would have to live like a drug lord, with big dogs, cameras, and armed guards.......Can you afford that? Did I mention that before the current spate of home invasions began, that they carried off and killed my dog?  I fixed and reinforced the steel gate door and changed the locks so many times ive lost count......did the investigations myself, as usual in both C.R. and Panama, and shared all the information with the respective police authorities, and what do think was the result?  A bunch of blah, blah, blah.......They are masters of papeleo and nothing more, unless theres money it for them.....But they dont come right out and ask for it like they did in Costa Rica......You have to know how things work and offer them some incentive ...otherwise they got better things to do than worry about another home robbery. Theres just too many of em.......Panama is falling quickly out of favor and for good reason......You better sell that property quick Wolfman.......cuz time is running out for Panama, once bueno, bonito y barato..........

jajajajaja   17 years here yes i am allin and plan on staying here ,, you strike me like so many have that never be satisfied unless you are trashing something ,, i have my medical in colombia go often ..

Just talkin from personal experience there Wolf.....tellin the truth, unlike so many who just want to sell something........If you know my name, why cant you spell it......

Oh.....oops....got it! All in.......I was all in until I could get all out.........But Im still partly in......But all that stuff can wait.........

I think everyone’s experience is different. 6 1/2 years in David, no problems. But if you come in our neighborhood you will be announced loudly by every dog and neighbors will notice you, and maybe even question you as to what you are doing here. An Indian boy walking home one night had his cell phone stolen. Someone was getting work done on the house, relative of a workman who knew about the open window came in and stole a bike, someone else had a bike left out and it was stolen... I think that’s the extent of the neighborhood stories. Some houses have fences and security window covers, some don’t. We like that our fence keeps out dogs, roosters, and salesmen in the street.
I’ve heard worse stories about other neighborhoods. I’ve also heard that the next neighborhood is very dangerous, the next town, the next country.... wherever you are, you must be careful of those other people over there!
Nothing is guaranteed but I also haven’t heard about a neighbor who was robbed at gunpoint, a story from our nice Florida neighborhood where bikes were also stolen and other worse nonsense went on.

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