Safety concerns for single women in DR?

lowkey

New member
Aug 18, 2007
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Hi all...I have browsed this site for awhile & have found alot of good info here, so I'm hoping I can get some help/insight on this issue-

I'm a public administration graduate student. I'm interested in applying for an internship next summer with the United Nations office in Santo Domingo. I was talking to my ex-boyfriend about this (whose family is from DR) & he strongly advised me against the whole idea citing safety concerns- theft, kidnapping, sexual assault. Any advice on the matter would be appreciated- thanks!
 

AK74

On Vacation!
Jun 18, 2007
842
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Hi all...I have browsed this site for awhile & have found alot of good info here, so I'm hoping I can get some help/insight on this issue-

I'm a public administration graduate student. I'm interested in applying for an internship next summer with the United Nations office in Santo Domingo. I was talking to my ex-boyfriend about this (whose family is from DR) & he strongly advised me against the whole idea citing safety concerns- theft, kidnapping, sexual assault. Any advice on the matter would be appreciated- thanks!

INSTRAW has good Security Service and is centrally located.
So as long as you do not leave the premises you will be allright.
 

harrydr

On Vacation
Dec 12, 2006
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1. don't take advice from an EX-boyfriend.
2. Safety is a matter of common sense.
3. Find your calling in the DR
 

drny

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Jun 12, 2007
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Sounds like that boy has got much greater concerns than your safety.
That advice just screams out loud :" Please don't go"
Kidnapping?? Come on now. My guess is you'll be safer in the DR capital doing what you'll be doing than most young ladies in most major US cities.
 

lowkey

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Aug 18, 2007
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Thanks for the comments. I brought the idea up to him since his family is from there & he's visited before, but I was definitely surprised at how bad he made it seem. He made a big point to tell me about his cousin (who works for a major record company in the US) disappearing after a trip there a few months ago. So, I went from feeling really excited about this opportunity to wondering if I am just ignorant to the safety issue since I've never been there before.
 
Sep 19, 2005
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Yes and no......

first off i doubt you will have to worry about crime other than being taken advantage of...high prices scammed, ect ect....not like a knife to your throat and give me all your money.....I doubt that any more than where you live now

Just remember if that does happen, just give them what they want...

and far as rape....i think that date rape is a HUGE possibility...the dominican mindset is that the men dont like no very much and dont accept it. and if the guy is at all connected he knows he can get away with it....

I seriously doubt someone will kidnap you and go rape you.... there are just sooo many willing women, it isnt something that they would have to stoop to.

thousands of women walk those streets every day....there is no plague running through that city making it dangerous to live there...

we have read about some horrendous crimes but we also know that there are a LOT of people and the odds are that we will hear about any incident....

just go with a positive attitude, dont drive much, dont be flashy with jewelry, or cash.....and no one will get the idea they can take it from you...

you wont regret the chance to live there for a little while other than the no electricty, and traffic woes.....

hey on my first trip driving there I smashed into a huge horse with my rental SUV....but nothing has happened since like that in the following 20 trips!!!!!!!!



good luck

bob
 

planner

.............. ?
Sep 23, 2002
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I think your ex is more concerned about you meeting your future boyfriend.

Use your common sense and you will be just fine! Chiri lives in SD and she can steer you in the right direction............. I am on the north coast.....
 

sherri

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Jan 25, 2006
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When i lived there i went to work...walked the streets and did the everyday normal things. I never encountered anything like that BUT like everyone else said use common sense. Dont walk around scared with your head down..when people see your nervous thats when someone will take advantage. Im moving back in a week and a half to the Capital..so it can't be all bad right? ;)
 

lowkey

New member
Aug 18, 2007
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Thanks everyone...it's good to hear some info from people who have been/live there...

I do agree that for the most part, safety is a common sense issue- I grew up in nyc & consider myself to be very street smart, however when I tried to explain this to him he just said "it doesn't matter. you're not from there & they know that." I visited Panama City by myself last year & everything turned out to be fine (even tho some people thought I was a lil crazy for that). So, I was thinking of this opportunity in the same light. I'll have to remember whenever I talk to the ex there may be other things at play.
 

alabemos

New member
Dec 15, 2004
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a different view

I'm going to have to disagree with all the people saying that Santo Domingo isn't very dangerous for a single woman. It's actually dangerous for everyone these days, but more so for a single woman than anyone else. The embassy had an interesting sentence in an email they sent out. "There is a generalized fear of young men on the street." That's because they are the ones who do the most mugging. You can live here in reasonable safety by taking some special precautions, but you have to be practically paranoid to survive.

I don't consider myself a newbie. I lived here for five years during Balaguer's presidency, and have been back for close to four years. What a change! In the last two years, especially, it has become increasingly dangerous for me to be on the street. I live low middle-class style. I take public transportation a lot. That probably increases my risk exponentially, but being single and not particularly well-to-do, driving poses more risks and financial problems.

So far, in the past few years, I've been mugged once at knifepoint (dangerous place, and walking with an obvious tourist) and had two cell phones and a garbage can stolen at other times & places. People have attempted to pickpocket me numerous other times, and I think I have also dodged at least two possible muggers.

I don't think I know any Dominican woman at all who hasn't been robbed at least once, usually by pickpocketing. One woman I know has been mugged three times in the last couple of years. Several others have been mugged at least once. I know several American women who have been mugged, and all of them drive their own cars.

Sexual assault (on unknown victims) seems to be much less common than general robbery. I suppose that if you hang out at bars, and/or dress provocatively, your risk would skyrocket, because "she was asking for it" seems to be an acceptable idea here. The thought is that men cannot control themselves, and if given the opportunity, it is only natural that they take advantage of it.

Violent crime has increased dramatically with the increase in drug use here.

There are some things you can do to keep your risks down.

1. Don't look like a tourist. Tourists are targets.
2. Dress dowdy. (Sorry guys.) The more dressed up you are, the more the mugger thinks you have money or expensive items on you. Most of the people I know who have been mugged multiple times are those who dress up with really nice clothes and accessories.
3. Don't flash your cell phone, or camera, or worse wear an ipod.
4. Gold jewelry or expensive accessories? Don't even think of it!
5. Careful crossing those pedestrian bridges. Muggers love them. Don't cross them at night at all. During the day, try to tag along with a group of people, preferably including some women.
6. Stay home after dark. If you must go out, call a taxi. CALL don't just flag one down, when you need to return home. It is also helpful to get a few favorite taxi drivers you feel comfortable with, and use their services when possible.
7. When taking a public car, trust your gut instinct, and don't go if you don't feel comfortable. Also, avoid "piratas"--private cars being driven as public cars. If the windshield isn't cracked, it probably is not safe! LOL
8. Find a safe place to live. If you live alone, everyone will know it, and you easily become a target. My first apt. was over a very quiet colmado, which afforded me a certain amount of safety. They couldn't break in my house without the colmado people seeing them, and the second floor and barred windows made it a little more difficult. I was in a middle class area. I only had a problem once. I heard gunshots, and it was my neighbor who was shooting at a ladron he had just caught coming up my stairs at 3 AM.

Do I like living in Santo Domingo? Absolutely! But that wasn't the question. The question was about safety. Come. Be careful. Enjoy.
 
N

naturelover

Guest
apparently in the uk a study has just been completed...robbery by knifepoint has gone up by 25,500 to 64000.00 in two years.there are 125 robberied at knifepoint per day on the streets of England and Wales...does this make you feel any better:ermm:
 

Eddyx

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Sep 9, 2005
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If you want to stay for a long time, try to get a car. It will be safer for you, and don't go to some periferies areas of the city where your personal security will be low.
 

lowkey

New member
Aug 18, 2007
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alabemos- thank you very much for your comments. I want to hear all views, so your insight is very much appreciated.

This internship would probably last anywhere from 3-6 months. INSTRAW would not provide housing for me- I would need to find my own housing, although they did say they can provide "help with housing resources" (whatever that means). I would be commuting to the office daily. I had assumed using public transportation would be the easiest thing to do. The dress code is regular business wear, so I would be dressed up most days. If I do go there, I am very committed to staying focused on the task at hand. I'm not much of a party person anyways, so while I do like music/dancing, I really don't have any interest in the club/bar scene.

I don't want to go there & feel that I have to be afraid of interacting with Dominican people. A big reason why I am interested in doing an internship in DR is so that I can learn more about the culture & daily life for people there. So, I want to take any necessary safety precauations needed, but at the same time, I don't want to isolate myself out of fear.
 
Sep 19, 2005
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apparently in the uk a study has just been completed...robbery by knifepoint has gone up by 25,500 to 64000.00 in two years.there are 125 robberied at knifepoint per day on the streets of England and Wales...does this make you feel any better:ermm:
I guess its time to ban knives.......:ermm::ermm::ermm:

bob
 
N

naturelover

Guest
i think they are sort of banned in the uk...you would get arrested if you walked to work with a machete...lol