How to be safer in the DR - Compilation of tips by DR1 Members

Chris

Gold
Oct 21, 2002
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www.caribbetech.com
On another thread some posters suggested that we develop a sticky of How to be safe in the DR. I put the following categories together - it's up to you to add content, add to the categories and generally share your tips of How to be safe in the DR. I think this is a most positive suggestion.

I'll be happy to moderate a "How to be Safe in the DR" sticky. Perhaps the powers that be can glean enough from that to write a new article about it.

Snuffy, you're just full of positive suggestions these days. Nice to see! This is why I love this board. One good one makes up for a thousand bad ones :cheeky:

Let's play it out here first, and then I'll construct a sticky from that (and fix my English!) and all can give their input on the sticky.

Here are some categories to start with --- feel free to contribute ...

Two main Categories that I can think of ...

1. Visiting the DR as a non-AI Tourist
and
2. How to be security conscious when you're buying a home in the DR - what to look for in your new environment and what to avoid

OK, the first one, some suggested topics.

Visiting the DR as a non-AI Tourist

1. Walking Around in Town - What to do, and not to Do!
2. Selection Criteria for establishments to visit where you will be safe
3. Basic Self-Defense when you're walking around and out playing tourist
4. What to do when you're confronted by local police of traffic police and you're not sure how to behave
5. What to do when you're in an unexpected altercation (sp?)

2nd Category
How to be security conscious when you're buying a home in the DR - what to look for in your new environment and what to avoid (disclaimer, this does not deal with financial or real-estate issues, but with safety in your physical area and safe layout of property)
1. Neighborhood
2. Gated community or not? Pros and Cons
3. Security suggested for your outside environment
4. Security suggested inside your home
5. What to do when you are the victim of a home invasion
6. Basic self-defense in your home

OK, that is my brain dump on this topic. Go for it, add, change and suggest ... Just don't fight about it OK :laugh: I'll delete the fight and with it, perhaps your brilliant suggestion.

A last comment, If the DR1 finds the content good enough to write an article about it for their database, I'll stress that all the contributors have to get a mention.
 

Mirador

On Permanent Vacation!
Apr 15, 2004
3,563
0
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common sense

I sniff a slight gender bias in the layout of these questions. On number 5 ("5. What to do when you're in an unexpected altercation"), if it's a women, I suggest keeping your mouth shut, turning around, and walking away as if the devil was on your heels ;-)
 

Rocky

Honorificabilitudinitatibus
Apr 4, 2002
13,998
184
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108
www.rockysbar.com
Compiled from other thread.

SUGGESTIONS

1) Learn the language

2) Learn to understand the Dominican culture, and be patient.

3) Avoid altercations as much as possible.

4) Leave the illusion that you are struggling to survive, financially speaking.

5) Secure your home premises.

6) Have tools with which to defend yourself

7) Have a defensive plan formed ahead of time.

8) Live in an area that is more secure than less.

9) Make friends with your neighbours, and look out for each other.

10) Exercise common sense.

Thieves do not like noise which alerts people in the vicinity and could cause them problems. Screaming is good, but most people just "freeze." My wife & I each always carry a "personal alarm" which gives off a 130 decibel scream (extremely loud!) when the cord is pulled. This scream persists until the 9v battery runs down (+-1/2hr) or until the shutoff probe is reinserted. These things are very small and easy to pocket. Physical confrontation of an attacker should be an absolutely last resort. Far better to scare him off....
I still have a number of these alarms and gift them to my friends.
If you are interested, PM me please. I am also prepared to visit houses on the north coast and suggest simple ways to upgrade security, based on my personal experience. If I can prevent only one robbery/attack, I'll be happy.
Originally posted by Canadian Bob.

Perimeter motion sensors are small systems that can easily be brought here from USA or Europe. Noise devices like Canadian Bob described. Big Bear Mace...those will knock a bear down, they will surely knock down a man. Dogs, Lighting, Guns, Self Defense (my friend Rob can drop a guy just by grabbing his collar bone...talk about pain). Knowing certain self defense items might just save your life.

Show your gun every once in a while. Just take it out in the neighborhood and make sure the workers, etc see it. If you have the space, fire it off from time to time.
Originally posted by Snuffy.

Something I do here in the states is always keep my car keys within reach. A quick push of the "panic button" on the door lock transmitter makes the car alarm go off. The more noise, the better...bad guys throughout the world fear two things: noise and light.
Originally posted by Cobraboy


Use epoxy glue to glue the jalousie glass slats into each metal slot that holds the glass. It does not take much glue. This makes it impossible to remove them without breaking them, which makes enough noise that should wake the watchman. Put a set of iron bars INSIDE each window. They won't rust & can't be jacked out. Even very small windows should be protected as ladrones sometimes use small children to gain access.
Originally posted by Canadian Bob.


I would highly recommend putting in bars on all of your windows and doors. The good herreros put a key lock in the doors as opposed to padlock so it's really not a pain at all to get in or out. I would also recommend using 5/8" steel. This should prevent all but the most hardened criminals from entering and if they still try the noise or your guard should alert you in time. If you want more info/prices for what I did to my home, pm me.
Originally posted by Chip


Keeping up the illusion that you are struggling financially isn't just about not wearing flash jewellery etc and other ostentatious displays of wealth. People do understand if you tell them that you sank your last cent in your nice house and now have difficulty managing day to day. You reinforce this when you go shopping by checking the price of everything, refusing the expensive imported cheese in favour of the cheaper local cheese etc etc. It's a mindset and there are hundreds of different ways of displaying it. Don't be seen in the same expensive restaurant every night, for two reasons - your movements may be being clocked and you don't want to appear predictable and secondly it will look like you are spending money without a care in the world. Check the bill when it comes, don't just pay it. Drive a functional but non-flashy vehicle.
Originally posted by Lambada.


OBSERVATIONS

Once inside, these scum become even more dangerous. All efforts must be made to scare them off before they have any chance to enter. Be aware that breakins can also happen during the day, sometimes by women, ostensibly looking for "work". Stay safe!
Originally posted by Canadian Bob.


There are people that just don't understand all of these issues. They're trying to move to DR and bring standards from elsewhere. As I said, whether through arrogance or ignorance, these people aren't ready to move (To the DR).
Originally posted by CFA123


TO BE CONSIDERED

How to be safe when walking.
How to be safe when driving.
How to be safe in your home.
How to handle a verbal confrontation.
If you have to fight.
Safety for your children.
This list originally posted by Snuffy
 
Last edited by a moderator:

SantiagoDR

"46"
Jan 12, 2006
5,412
564
113
Visiting Establishments / Unexpected Altercation / Etc

(1) Be careful about accepting drinks, and understand that someone may drug your drinks to rob you.

(2) Remember that "many" Dominicans will be very combatant(sp), whether they are right or wrong in a disagreement. No matter how minor the disagreement.

(3) If you are a woman and are in or seeking a relationship with a Dominican male, re-read statement 2.

(4) Motion sensor alarms are NOT reliable.

(5) Car Security: Put a siren/alarm INSIDE the car also. The noise will drive anyone out that breaks into it. This may also be a good idea for several inside your home also. Extremely loud ones will disorientate the intruder.
 
A

apostropheman

Guest
i think this is great however you might want to change the title to "how to be safer..." and add a disclaimer in the thread. there are no guarantees and people still might end up victims despite all the good advice.

otherwise i think this is an excellent idea.
 

Snuffy

Bronze
May 3, 2002
1,462
6
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Some Organizational Ideas....

"Tips To Stay Safe In The DR".

Stress that these are deterrant ideas and not intended to insure your 100% safety. For example, motion sensors are not 100% reliable. They are a deterrant. Look at it like this. You are creating a maze around you. The perpetrator has to manuever your maze to get to you. You make it as complicated as you deem necessary. Motion Sensors inside your home/outside are one of the deterrants. Dogs are also. Bars, etc. Nothing is 100% certain.

Safety At The House:
-Securing The Perimeter
+ All About Your Guard Dogs
+ Lighting
+ Motion Sensors
+ Neighbor Watch
+ All About Your Night Watchman
+ Iron Bars
+ Securing Windows and Doors
+ Keep The Yard Neat, Clean, and Remove Tempting Items

-Securing The Inside
-What To Do With Important Documents/Jewelry/Etc...
-Weapons In The Home
-Sound The Alarm...Emergency Calling Plan: Have phone numbers ready to go.

How To Make Your Neighborhood Safer:

Safety In Your Vehicle:
Keep the doors locked. My friend says that tinted windows make a good deterrant as it is difficult for someone with a gun to easily see what you are doing in your vehicle. Keep the windows up when in traffic if possible. On the open road you can keep them down. Don't stop for anyone. If the police pull you over in a remote area you may consider driving to a busy area before stopping...or driving to the police station. I would like to hear from others on this one...because I have often stopped in remote areas for the police. Moreso these days I simply avoid eye to eye contact and drive on by. I don't know that I should recommend this here. The police are getting more and more sensitive.

Safety In A Carro Publico/MotoConcho:

Walking Around Town:
I will sometimes just stop and let everyone who was in the back of me go ahead of me. Especially if I see someone who appears to be following me. I let him go on by. I keep my money in my front pocket and often my hand is in the pocket. I'm very alert to crowds and anyone brushing up against me. Another idea is to have your money in one wallet and a fake dummy wallet with nothing. The fake goes in your back pocket. The real goes in your front. If I am walking on a lonely road and sense danger I may shove my wallet down the front of my pants or take the money out and shove the money in a sock. Don't wear expensive jewelry into crowds or anywhere where you will be doing a lot of walking. Wear your jewelry to dinner where you are in a group of friends or that kind of thing...where everyone is watching out for one another.

Safety When Shopping And Handling Money:

Safety During A Night On The Town:

Verbal Altercations:
How you handle a verbal altercation is very important. Now I try my best to just walk away. It isn't worth upsetting someone who may come back and do harm to you or your loved ones. You don't want to upset the wrong person. And that goes for men and women. Are you being a wimp. No. You are being smart.

What To Do If You Are Attacked:
-Potential Weapons
-Defensive Action
-Going For The Kill

Keep Your Kids Safe:
-Teach Your Kids Safety
 

planner

.............. ?
Sep 23, 2002
4,412
26
0
Great idea....

I really think this is a huge service to everyone. Even oldtimers like Rocky can learn new tricks....LOL

May I suggest Chris that we change: Visiting the DR as a non-AI Tourist to something more likely to encourage individuals to get the heck out of the AI.

I want to encourage everyone to get out of the hotels, they are given a great deal of misinformation before coming here and after arriving and that needs to be cleared up! Let me put something together for a list to contribute as well.

HOw about - Getting out and about safely in the DR. or Yes it is safe to leave the hotel. Just thoughts.

I will also submit some ideas on how to get out and enjoy the nightlife safely.
 

qgrande

Bronze
Jul 27, 2005
805
4
0
One thing that I think is smart to do when walking around town to keep your belongings a little safer:
If you carry a bag, backpack on one shoulder, laptop, camera, purse, etc., when you're walking on the pavement, don't carry it in your hand closest to the road, but in your other hand, so that opportunistic thieves on scooters passing by cannot easily snatch it.
 

lonetraveller

New member
Sep 4, 2006
35
0
0
Great Idea!

I think this is a great idea as I am a single woman travelling alone! I have already received lots of valuable safety information from Planner but I figure the more information the better.

Thanks to everyone for their great advice!
 

Drro

Bronze
Mar 22, 2006
1,364
60
48
I'd like to see something about what to wear or what not to wear so as not to appear a 'tourist' - for both men and women (besides the obvious camera, hawaiian shirt). Ro
 

cobraboy

Pro-Bono Demolition Hobbyist
Jul 24, 2004
40,966
919
113
The new generation of wireless security devices, including motion sensors, are not only effective, they are very easy to install and operate-literally "plug and play".

I had a break-in in my Tampa home recently (musta spooked the perps when I came home, because the two items taken were found on the ground outside). Ironically, I had my home "speced" for a system just a couple of weeks before by the husband of one of my employees, a guy who has become regarded locally as somewhat of a guru in the field of home/business alarms. At his suggestion, I found numerous on-line DIY technical sources, some quite cost-effective, for the new generation wireless alarms, including motion sensor-triggered wireless cameras that record onto a hard drive. A combination of wireless motion sensors and door/window/cameras trips can secure the perimeter zone as well as the interior effectively.

These devices are small, could be brought into the country very easily, and all that has to be done is install a batteries and stick them in strategic locations on the walls. No internal wiring. The master panel has to be installed near a phone line and power, if you want one that calls either a monitoring service or your cell phone.

My friend referred me to this website (he has no interest in it; it's where he, as a pro, bought stuff for his home): Home Security Store - Wireless Security Systems for Home Protection . There is also an exceellent BBS/forum on this site where security geeks hang, offering detailed discussions.

Hope this helps.

BTW-I live in one of the better, more secure neighborhoods in Tampa. Goes to show no one is immune from folks wanting to do harm.
 

Me_again

Bronze
Nov 21, 2004
901
2
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78
My two cents worth ...

Wow what a lot of posts in just a few hours. Sunday morning too. Good stuff; and it seems mostly from ?living-there? people.

1. Tourists ? let?s not alarm them but they should travel in groups; think about (and try to follow) the advice given here and elsewhere.

2. Regular, repeat visitors ? don?t get cocky after a few trips in which there were no incidents; read the advice on this thread and mull it over.

3. Living-there people ? I bow to the experts.

My philosophy is ? Most Domincanos are not crooks. Some of the not-crooks will take advantage and commit crimes of opportunity if someone who they think rich is careless. The very few who make their living (or most of their livelihood) from crime are almost impossible to thwart if they put their mind to it. You just have to encourage them to prefer to rob someone else; and/or you avoid the places and times of day (night) when they are prowling.

Stress: attitude ? attitude ? attitude. I always dress down, moderately and try to act as if I know where I?m going. I?m not trying to pass for a Dominicano ? just someone who knows his way around and is not worth the trouble of molesting; that is ? not someone who is especially rich and not an especially easy target.

Dressing down/moderately to me means: what in Canada would be work pants and work shirt, almost never short pants; scruffy ball cap or local straw hat.

BTW safety ? for new visitors especially ? includes awareness of traffic and the low priority placed on pedestrian life. It is also awareness of the fact that you are responsible for yourself when you choose to: get on a boat, gua-gua, plane etcetera; walk that deserted path; eat that meal. You?re not in Kansas anymore Toto.
 

Hillbilly

Moderator
Jan 1, 2002
18,944
501
83
Standard apparel here is collared shirts or poloshirts, khakis or jeans, shoes and socks.
this applies to all cities and towns. Shorts are considered to be "girly man" attire.
Women in short shorts are considered hookers and will be so treated.
Lots of jewelry? "Please come and rob me, mister"

About money:

Spread it out. The ATMs here will let you have enough for a dayor two. Plastic is accepted just about everywhere. CAsh in a couple of pockets.

Be nice. If you are a visitor, be nice. You do not have to become "blood brothers" with the staff, but do be nice. Smile.

Learn a few phrases, like "Cómo Estamos? " (the old-fashioned way to say HI!" Dominicans love to teach you how to speak...

If you live here, know your neighbors. A sancocho on one of these evenings with beer, toasted casabe with garlic butter and chicken and a few pork chops....Rice, avocado....and this just for the closest neighbors...

Dominicans love to ask personal questions: How much do you make.? How much did you pay for the house? stuff like that. Be very vague.

In the cities of the "interior" , like where I live, the thieves are seldom "random". Often times they have ties to your help or are actually part of your help...

Lights are good for nighttime protection. So are yappy little dogs. Big dogs tend to discourage people, and this is a good thing. Butthe yappy ones tell you someone strange is here...

A firearm is for killing people. Showing it off doesn't do much unless you are willing to pull that trigger, and know how to do it! Train yourself if you can afford one.

Someone once said that fences make for good neighbors. My mother sometimes talked about "spite fences" ....at any rate, good fences can be a major deterrant, especially now that razor wire is available... There are bushes that are beautiful and impenetrable, so a lot depends on your space.

Enough ramblings..

HB
 

Danny W

Bronze
Mar 1, 2003
999
12
0
The new generation of wireless security devices, including motion sensors, are not only effective, they are very easy to install and operate-literally "plug and play".

I had a break-in in my Tampa home recently (musta spooked the perps when I came home, because the two items taken were found on the ground outside). Ironically, I had my home "speced" for a system just a couple of weeks before by the husband of one of my employees, a guy who has become regarded locally as somewhat of a guru in the field of home/business alarms. At his suggestion, I found numerous on-line DIY technical sources, some quite cost-effective, for the new generation wireless alarms, including motion sensor-triggered wireless cameras that record onto a hard drive. A combination of wireless motion sensors and door/window/cameras trips can secure the perimeter zone as well as the interior effectively.

These devices are small, could be brought into the country very easily, and all that has to be done is install a batteries and stick them in strategic locations on the walls. No internal wiring. The master panel has to be installed near a phone line and power, if you want one that calls either a monitoring service or your cell phone.

My friend referred me to this website (he has no interest in it; it's where he, as a pro, bought stuff for his home): Home Security Store - Wireless Security Systems for Home Protection . There is also an exceellent BBS/forum on this site where security geeks hang, offering detailed discussions.

Hope this helps.

BTW-I live in one of the better, more secure neighborhoods in Tampa. Goes to show no one is immune from folks wanting to do harm.
I checked the website - it's great. Does anyone know of a company on the north coast that specializes in that kind of product? - D
 

SantiagoDR

"46"
Jan 12, 2006
5,412
564
113
Speaking of gua-gua, public transportation, etc.

I always wear my shirts out, for two reasons, hides the 9mm and helps keep the pickpockets out of my pockets.

If waiting for a bus, beware of those that prefer to stand behind you, especially if you move and they do also. I moved 4 times once, and the guy kept getting behind me. So I moved away, turned and faced him with my hand under my shirt. He left. (Another reason to keep the shirts out, they don't know what's under it).

If in a public vehicle, don't be nice and lean over to pick up something the person near you dropped. That is one of the techniques for exposing your pockets for pickpocketing.
 

Lambada

Gold
Mar 4, 2004
9,478
376
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77
www.ginniebedggood.com
If a verbal confrontation is unavoidable

1) Listen to what the other person has to say
2) Do not misinterpret excitability for aggression - if your Spanish is at beginner level, this is very easy to do
3) After the confronter has spoken, explain your case politely, non-aggressively and as pleasantly as possible
4) Be aware of body language: arms folded in front of your body, head on one side says 'make my day, idiot'. Make sure body language is non-provocative
5) If all confronters' buddies join in shouting, seek to control 'interview' by lowering the volume of your voice. Eventually curiosity will take over & their volume will lower, too, because they can't hear you.
6) Concede a few points along the way, even if you have to engineer it. This way you are taking heat out of situation. Remember Dominicans hate to loose face.
7) After everyone has had their say, make eye contact with the one in the group who looks the most mischievous and try to inject humour into the situation. The humour should be pointed at you, not at confronter. Facilitating people to laugh at you takes the heat out of situation
8) Always make 'friends' before encounter finishes. End on a handshake
9) Remember you cannot quietly take control of the situation unless you are quietly in control of yourself
10) If it transpires that you are the one in the wrong, admit it and apologise
11) If confronter is drunk as a lord or coked out of his brains, ignore 1-10 and leave the situation. You cannot reason with someone who is not in full possession of their faculties.

P.S. Mirador, this works for women, too. I am one and I've done it.
 
Last edited:
Mar 21, 2002
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Beirut or Santo Domingo, dunno?

I always wear my shirts out, for two reasons, hides the 9mm and helps keep the pickpockets out of my pockets.
Guy, are you trying to help or create an alarm? Hides your 9mm, wonderful. Geez, sure the DR is a swell place to retire to. All you need is a .50 caliber M2 machine gun placed at your entrance. Oh I forgot, remember to have it manned 24/7 just in case. I think this thread will hinder many from ever coming to the DR. I can know see people cancelling their tickets.
 

Snuffy

Bronze
May 3, 2002
1,462
6
0
No...many here carry a gun. I have met so many recently who have admitted to owning one. So, it is important to know this fact. Usually they are not exposed. They are concealed under the shirt. They are meant for defense. I don't think that will scare people away. But to come here and suddenly see them on hips or in pockets without being forewarned...that would be scary. Occasionally you will see someone pull his gun out and shift it to another location. Not knowing about guns here, this would be a surprise.

Attach To Safety In Carro Publico: I had an incident where I entered a carro publico and a guy entered right behind me. He pressed up against me and started trying to get to my wallet. I realized something was wrong and shifted my weight and put my hand in my pocket. He then quickly exited the car. So, you need to be extra cautious in these carro publicos. You are pressed up against people.