I’m writing in regards to the headline of the “high crime rate” warning for the Dominican Republic. Since the article was very vague and non-specific, and given that the majority of hard-working Dominicans survive on tourism dollars, I feel there should be more perspective given on the matter.
From my experience of several extended trips to the D.R., where I have used local transportation in Puerto Plata to travel “off resort,” ventured into the back country on tours and with Dominican friends, and travelled from near the border of Haiti to as far as Samana in the east, I have to say I’ve never felt unsafe in any way. Locals were usually helpful and friendly despite their often poor economic conditions.
It is my understanding from personal experience, research prior to my trips to the D.R., from speaking with expats living there, and from my Dominican friends that crime against tourists is relatively low. Most Dominicans don’t want to jeopardize their own livelihoods.
The Canadian government travel advisory issued on Dec. 5, 2013 mentions theft of personal items or passports in the airport and from hotels, and the occasional violent crime against tourists. These sorts of crimes aren’t uncommon in most countries. A friend of mine visiting Canada from Barcelona had her bag stolen from practically under her nose in the Toronto airport, so we’re really not much different.
The best way to avoid problems is to use common sense. Don’t pack expensive goods in your suitcase, or flash money, phones or jewelry in public. Don’t venture out alone at night in unfamiliar areas, and, for females, be careful of overly friendly attention from the opposite sex.
With a bit of research, planning and common sense, anyone should be able to have a safe time in the Dominican Republic.
Here is a link to the travel advisory with safety advice for visitors to the Dominican Republic:http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/dominican-republic. Trip Advisor forums are an excellent resource for asking questions and information to help plan for your trip.