Social Media is a buzz with the latest reports of an American tourist being attacked while visiting a resort in Punta Cana. The story seems to be evolving by the minute with new information that has some people casting a bit of doubt on the story. The comments on Facebook have ranged from thoughtful concern to downright stupidity.
Over the last year there were several crimes reported on the North Coast involving tourists and ex-pats. Unfortunately a few of those incidents were violent in nature and even ended with fatalities. Without question each and every one of these incidents needs to be investigated, factually reported and broadcasted to the general public. Unfortunately the current trend on the various Facebook Groups and the American media is to take a poorly translated news clip and then start random conjecturing. This usually ends up with a bunch of disparaging remarks labeling the Dominican Republic as an “unsafe” place to visit or to live.
There needs to be some context and real data added to the discussion. So here is our take.
FACT: Crime exists in every single corner of the world. Chicago, Toronto, Cancun, Los Angeles, London, New York, Orlando, St. Thomas, Nassau, San Juan, Freeport, Key West…..deep breath - Honolulu, Cozumel, Rio, Rome, Vancouver, Washington DC, New Orleans, St. Croix, San Juan and Jamaica to name a few. All of these places are major tourist destinations and they ALL have one thing in common. Higher violent crime rates than ANY of the tourist destinations in the Dominican Republic. The US Virgin Islands of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix….have the fourth highest murder rate in the world, according to a study done by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Only El Salvador, Honduras and Venezuela have more murders per capita. Yet we rarely see news stories blasting away about the security concerns involved with a trip to the VI’s…
The 2018 global peace index has the Dominican Republic listed as the 73rd most dangerous country in the world. That’s below the United States, China, Russia, Thailand, Mexico, Israel, Brazil, Egypt and pretty much anywhere in Africa, the Middle East and South America.
Statistically speaking you have much higher chance of being robbed at gunpoint on your way into Disney World than you do walking to the beach in Sosua or Cabarete. If one were to take the time and fully read every news story regarding crime involving tourists or expats in the Dominican Republic (we did), you’d be hard pressed to find a report of violent crime against a tourist while they were out doing touristy things. Almost all of the violent crime reported on the North Shore involves either drugs and/or prostitution. All very real and concerning. To label the Dominican Republic as an unsafe place to live is statistically inaccurate and very misleading.
The Dominican Republic is as safe as YOU make it. If you come here to enjoy the beach with your family there is very little chance that you will be the victim of a violent crime. The majority of the crime in this country is petty theft and crimes of opportunity. If your visiting with the intent of finding love in all the wrong places or looking to participate in the evening pharmaceutical trade than your odds go way up. But this is true for any tourist destination in the known universe. So when JoeyG from Boise starts his Facebook rant about how dangerous the DR is…. take it with a grain of salt. We have over 6,000,000 tourists visit our country per year - the statistics don’t lie, the Dominican Republic is one of the SAFEST destinations for tourist in the entire Caribbean.