You Guys Have Really Scared me about Crime in DR, PLEASE help!!!

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jeffedmonds42

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After coming across this wonderful site I read completely, every post, the thread about tips to avoid danger/crime in the DR. Practically every hope and dream I had established of finding my long sought after retirement, surf paradise was shattered. I even had nightmares of a shootout last night.
I am well travelled in 3rd world locales such a Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Mexico etc but none of them were as bad as is described here about DR. In Costa Rica I was pickpocketed in Jaco but.... at the time I was allowing prostitutes to approach me after midnight...THAT I understand. Definitely understand that if I hang out where I shouldnt be and do what I should not be doing the risks are high...but everyday life?

Not being able to drive my car to the beach to surf in a remote area without fear of robbery or machete attack? WOW! To be assaulted while "reading a map on the street", "stopped at a red light" or have to have razor wire, attack dogs, bars, walls, gates, guns, pepper spray, baseball bats, killer hedges, anti dog poison medicine...well that is ridiculous sounding. To have to fear of assault, robbery, pickpocket, scams, roadblocks and other unscruplicity would ruin my "dream life" To get right to the point:

1.Can I expect this type of "stuff" everywhere in the DR. Is it more concentrated in the big cities and pure tourist towns?
2. Would areas such as Las Terrenas, Cabrera, Gallera, The Samana Peninsula area have a more peaceful and safe setting?
3. What areas along Northern coast are not yet over run with development and bad guys? Be specific.
4. What areas can I still get a near or on beach home at somewhat of a better price than other more developed region. I want to be able to surf almost daily so near the beach and surfbreaks is a prerequisite.
I am coming in October for my exploratory trip and would love some friends to get acquainted with prior to arrival.
 

Ken

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Jan 1, 2002
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After coming across this wonderful site I read completely, every post, the thread about tips to avoid danger/crime in the DR. Practically every hope and dream I had established of finding my long sought after retirement, surf paradise was shattered. I even had nightmares of a shootout last night.
I am well travelled in 3rd world locales such a Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Mexico etc but none of them were as bad as is described here about DR. In Costa Rica I was pickpocketed in Jaco but.... at the time I was allowing prostitutes to approach me after midnight...THAT I understand. Definitely understand that if I hang out where I shouldnt be and do what I should not be doing the risks are high...but everyday life?

Not being able to drive my car to the beach to surf in a remote area without fear of robbery or machete attack? WOW! To be assaulted while "reading a map on the street", "stopped at a red light" or have to have razor wire, attack dogs, bars, walls, gates, guns, pepper spray, baseball bats, killer hedges, anti dog poison medicine...well that is ridiculous sounding. To have to fear of assault, robbery, pickpocket, scams, roadblocks and other unscruplicity would ruin my "dream life" To get right to the point:

1.Can I expect this type of "stuff" everywhere in the DR. Is it more concentrated in the big cities and pure tourist towns?
2. Would areas such as Las Terrenas, Cabrera, Gallera, The Samana Peninsula area have a more peaceful and safe setting?
3. What areas along Northern coast are not yet over run with development and bad guys? Be specific.
4. What areas can I still get a near or on beach home at somewhat of a better price than other more developed region. I want to be able to surf almost daily so near the beach and surfbreaks is a prerequisite.
I am coming in October for my exploratory trip and would love some friends to get acquainted with prior to arrival.
Your's is a common problem for new users. You can read a couple of posts on a subject and conclude that things are worse than they really are.

I have been living in the DR since 1986, in Samana and for last 12 in Sosua. I would not have stayed this long if I feared for my life.

That said, it must also be noted that the country is not as safe as it was when I got here in 86. But I doubt many places are as safe now as they were then. Several years ago I was talking with somebody who had a pistol stuck in his stomach while he was walking in broad daylight through the main park in Boston.

If you live here, you do need to take precautions. Staying away from deserted beaches is one of them. A foreigner on a deserted beach is going to be a source of money for some poor country person.

Not acting like a rich foreigner and flashing lots of money is another precaution. But that is stupid to do anywhere.

When you make your exploratory visit, come to the North Coast. There are lots of expats living here. The North Coast is not over run with bad guys, but there are some to avoid, both males and females,

I have no doubt that if there were message boards like this for the countries you mentioned that you would be reading scary posts about those countries much like those you have read on dr1
 

Chip

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I think everyone who is afraid of the situation here should stay away or leave. Life is too short to worry about what you can't change. Ciao.
 

dv8

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FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! (my catchphrase here, see?) some people are easily spooked. and, i start to think, quite silly. DR is not an international capital of crime. you will not be stripped off all your possessions and your life while walking down the street. you do not need a machine gun and a string of bodyguards in your wake. this ain't a war zone.
and you, my dear OP, seem like a fool. i would not drive my car into remote location for surfing anywhere in the world. should something happen to you, like, say, a shark attack or a concussion after a bad fall - how the f**k would you get any help if you were in a remote beach, all by yourself?

listen, dude. i am a woman, not big. i drive my car around town and out, i have no guns, pepper sprays, baseball bats or any other weapon. i move around north coast on my own and i have not passed out from fear as of yet. yes, i was attacked once in DR, by a dude with a gun and i managed to fight him off. treated it as a subject for hilarious email to friends, he did not dump my spirit.

DR is a place like any other. don't put yourself in harm's way and you will be fine. geez. there goes my image of surfers as cool guys. right....
 

cobraboy

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If I wrote of my experiences in Detroit, it doesn't mean MI is a dangerous place.

Perspective.
 

jeffedmonds42

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Thanks for the replys so far guys and ladies. Clarifications:. DV8 whether you think I am" cool" as a surfer or a "fool" is your issue not mine. I really was writing to get some perspective.Nno need to post if criticism and name calling are part of your post. I am seeking helpful friends not people to tell me to their personal opinions about me after a 4oo chartacter posting.tejaNO
 

jeffedmonds42

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Chip By surfing a remote deserted beach perhaps I went to far. I just like to get in the water on a daily basis. I am aware that normal precautions need be taken. I am not a fool and try not to be foolish. I definitely will tour along the North Coast. Jeff
 

jeffedmonds42

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FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! (my catchphrase here, see?) some people are easily spooked. and, i start to think, quite silly. DR is not an international capital of crime. you will not be stripped off all your possessions and your life while walking down the street. you do not need a machine gun and a string of bodyguards in your wake. this ain't a war zone.
and you, my dear OP, seem like a fool. i would not drive my car into remote location for surfing anywhere in the world. should something happen to you, like, say, a shark attack or a concussion after a bad fall - how the f**k would you get any help if you were in a remote beach, all by yourself?

listen, dude. i am a woman, not big. i drive my car around town and out, i have no guns, pepper sprays, baseball bats or any other weapon. i move around north coast on my own and i have not passed out from fear as of yet. yes, i was attacked once in DR, by a dude with a gun and i managed to fight him off. treated it as a subject for hilarious email to friends, he did not dump my spirit.

DR is a place like any other. don't put yourself in harm's way and you will be fine. geez. there goes my image of surfers as cool guys. right....
Google International Shark Attack file and you will learn that shark attack is not a great concern in DR
 

Viajero

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Not acting like a rich foreigner and flashing lots of money is another precaution. But that is stupid to do anywhere.
I can't help but think about the Elvis Presley impersonator guy (sideburns and all) I see in Sosua driving that nice new convertible up and down PC with the top down, lol.
 

william webster

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Jan 16, 2009
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I wouldn't overreact here.

Read the thread on drinking / using the tap water in RD.
You will find that all agree on the fact that it shouldn't be swallowed on regular basis..... thats where the agreement ends.

Some will cook with it - others won't
Some make their coffee with it - others won't
Some daredevils (me included) actually brush their teeth with it!! - Others offer to sing at our funerals.

Its all in the level of risk assessment/management.

Water can kill you, crime can kill you.

Personally, my family has many more problems in Europe than RD.... go figure.
Purse stolen or picked - in NYC (Bloomingdale's), Paris (subway by Armenian children in little "Fagan" type gangs) and Rome (on the bus)

I think the further you are from high density population and tourist areas, the more you will enjoy yourself.

Works for me.
 

cobraboy

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I wouldn't overreact here.

Read the thread on drinking / using the tap water in RD.
You will find that all agree on the fact that it shouldn't be swallowed on regular basis..... thats where the agreement ends.

Some will cook with it - others won't
Some make their coffee with it - others won't
Some daredevils (me included) actually brush their teeth with it!! - Others offer to sing at our funerals.

Its all in the level of risk assessment/management.

Water can kill you, crime can kill you.

Personally, my family has many more problems in Europe than RD.... go figure.
Purse stolen or picked - in NYC (Bloomingdale's), Paris (subway by Armenian children in little "Fagan" type gangs) and Rome (on the bus)

I think the further you are from high density population and tourist areas, the more you will enjoy yourself.

Works for me.
Solid advice.

But I wouldn't go too rural. Isolation comes with risks also.

Statistical Facts point that rarely do bad things happen to regular people just minding their business in the DR behaving in a security conscious manner.
 

dv8

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duuuuuude, surfers are so COOL! they get into the deep, deep water, they swim among the sharks, they are super fit, how can they NOT BE COOL? and mind you, i do not swim that well myself, so i am showing some jealousy :)

if you are not scared of sharks (we have them in DR too) nor deep ocean how can you be scared of being mugged? you said you do not chase putas and do not do drugs - you are not putting yourself in harms way, then. you will be fine! you have traveled to places, you speak spanish, why be worried in particular about DR? nah.

you will like it in cabarete - apparently it has the best surfing beach here. there are plenty of people who share your passion so remember to take someone with you if you want to do some surfing, it can get dangerous and it is better to have company. i am here in POP and i totally owe you a beer. or a case if you teach me how to swim in the open water ;)
 

gringobachata7

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Sep 19, 2009
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After coming across this wonderful site I read completely, every post, the thread about tips to avoid danger/crime in the DR. Practically every hope and dream I had established of finding my long sought after retirement, surf paradise was shattered. I even had nightmares of a shootout last night.
I am well travelled in 3rd world locales such a Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Mexico etc but none of them were as bad as is described here about DR. In Costa Rica I was pickpocketed in Jaco but.... at the time I was allowing prostitutes to approach me after midnight...THAT I understand. Definitely understand that if I hang out where I shouldnt be and do what I should not be doing the risks are high...but everyday life?

Not being able to drive my car to the beach to surf in a remote area without fear of robbery or machete attack? WOW! To be assaulted while "reading a map on the street", "stopped at a red light" or have to have razor wire, attack dogs, bars, walls, gates, guns, pepper spray, baseball bats, killer hedges, anti dog poison medicine...well that is ridiculous sounding. To have to fear of assault, robbery, pickpocket, scams, roadblocks and other unscruplicity would ruin my "dream life" To get right to the point:

1.Can I expect this type of "stuff" everywhere in the DR. Is it more concentrated in the big cities and pure tourist towns?
2. Would areas such as Las Terrenas, Cabrera, Gallera, The Samana Peninsula area have a more peaceful and safe setting?
3. What areas along Northern coast are not yet over run with development and bad guys? Be specific.
4. What areas can I still get a near or on beach home at somewhat of a better price than other more developed region. I want to be able to surf almost daily so near the beach and surfbreaks is a prerequisite.
I am coming in October for my exploratory trip and would love some friends to get acquainted with prior to arrival.
Ok, I use this forum too and have seen the posts. In a nutshell, the quality of life in the DR is lower in some ways but is easy to manage. The tap water is not drinkable, the power goes out, water goes out sometimes, the local romance relationships are often gold diggers, many local people are con artists who are looking to get money from tourists, and crime can take place anywhere at anytime.

Everything is manageable. You can get delicious filtered water. You can get a water contained in a container on your house, you can get an electricity generator, you can have relationships with locals but always watch your wallet and try to guess what they want from you in order to want to be near you because they are opportunists.

Now, the crime is manageable. Stay wherever you feel safest. Keep in mind that there are very safe places on the island where tourists visit and rich locals live and crime is kept well under control. Always have pepper spray, a belt or something you can use to protect yourself nearby. Try to stay in safe locations and neighborhoods. You should be fine. The odds are that nothing will happen. You will have a better chance of getting bitten by a shark or stuck by lightning. It is possible but the chances are very slim. It is pretty much the same as if you went into a bad american neighborhood. Just take precautions and you should be good.

The dominican republic is not like parts of mexico, colombia, brazil, jamaica, st. kits and nevits or even as dangerous as parts of puerto rico or many parts of american cities like new orleans, st. loui and detroit.
 

zoomzx11

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Jan 21, 2006
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Relax. You will be going to Cabarete. Fabulous surf and fabulous kitesurf. Its loaded with surfers from all over the world. You have nothing to worry about. Its warm water, no sea pests, no sharks and spectacular women. You will be in heaven. Do you wear a Rolex and a ton of gold jewelery when you go out? Are you a rich guy with a fancy car? What do you have to steal?
Once you are down here in Cabarete you will learn your way around and make other surfer friends who will show you the ropes.
The DR is not the least bit dangerous, especially around a bunch of surfers, who have the reputation of owning nothing but a board and raggedy clothing. You will be in paradise and laugh at the idea that you were ever nervous.
 

Givadogahome

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Hello Jeff, all I can say is stay tuned into the forum, over a short period you will notice things that in time make it easy to understand what's really going on. Once you define the posters who are settled down, making a living, happily married etc etc etc you will note they rarely take part in the 'DR is like Nam' threads, they do contribute to these threads but rarely once their point has been shared. There is little argument that 'my DR is more bad a$$ than yours'.
On the flp side you will notice the posters who are continuously posting about the negative aspects of the country, 'where are the best whores', 'aren't I great, I hang out in real DR, in the barrio', 'where is the most dangerous place', 'my best friends are PN' etc etc etc.

There is a big divide between those living life, and those looking for drama. You will see the divide if you stay tuned in. What you need to decide is what you are looking for out of this and then you can choose which camp to take advice from, or which tales and threads to take notice of. Some have an idea the DR is really bad a$$, and enjoy that as it makes them bad a$$? But the reality is that if you want to live a calm, normal existence then you can, if you want to go hang out with the part timers in some gutter barrio because you think that integrates you with the locals, then yeh, you're going to experience the BS side of the country.
People get unlucky, sometimes the unfair BS does come someone's way, we've been victim to that that in the past, and yes the country is getting more dangerous of recent years, but that being said, it is not common that it effects expats, unless you put yourself in a vulnerable position. BS rarely comes looking for expats, or anyone come to that.
live a quiet life with a good circle of friends, good contacts and stay out of the gutter and I bet you never have reason to regret anything. Depending what you put into life in the country will determine what you get out of it.
 

keepcoming

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May 25, 2011
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Don't know much about surfing but as far as safety goes use common sense. Watch who you associate with. Get to know people before divulging too much about yourself whether they are locals or expats. Yes there is crime here just like there is everywhere else. Sometimes it is not the crime people get upset about so much it is the way it is handled by police, military, government officials, etc...People come here and want to have new "experiences" which is understandable however if at home in your country if you had to think twice about doing something then here think 10x before doing it. In other words if you didn't do it at home don't do it here. You should be just fine.
 

jeffedmonds42

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Thanks for the fair and balanced input. It assuages my fears. I was guilty of focusing only on the naysayers which exist on every posting board. Carrying pepper spray is not outrageous for example. I would consider that prudent action on almost any travel anywhere. Maybe I can learn Kung Fu AND better Spanish then I will kack ass on all the bad guys. Thanks again for providing balanced common sense replies. Basically I here you sayiong, have fun, be careful and don't be a naive victum.
Thanks all.Jeff
 

william webster

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Thanks for the fair and balanced input. It assuages my fears. I was guilty of focusing only on the naysayers which exist on every posting board. Carrying pepper spray is not outrageous for example. I would consider that prudent action on almost any travel anywhere. Maybe I can learn Kung Fu AND better Spanish then I will kack ass on all the bad guys. Thanks again for providing balanced common sense replies. Basically I here you sayiong, have fun, be careful and don't be a naive victum.
Thanks all.Jeff
If you want more action, start a new thread asking about driving.
That one always hits a nerve:knockedou
 
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