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Don’t Be A Victim Of Crime When Traveling!

May 12, 2008

Many visiting Americans have Dominican roots and are here to spend time with family and friends.  Recently the ACS unit has noticed a surge of stolen passports from victims who were on their way into town after airport arrival, traveling in private vehicles with the windows open to the warm breezes.  In most cases, someone riding a motorcycle lifted a handbag with passports and cash through the open car window when the car was stopped at a traffic light.  Losing all your cash on arrival is a sad way to begin a vacation!

The luxury resorts and romantic beaches of the Dominican Republic are known around the globe, and foreign tourist arrivals are increasing every year.  Most visitors book their vacation at an all-inclusive resort, arrive at the nearest airport and are shuttled directly to the resort.  After check-in, they carefully store their valuables in the safe provided by the hotel.  In recent months we have received reports from several Americans who returned to their rooms to discover that the room safe with their valuables has been physically removed from the room after imposters requested and received duplicate keys to the room.  While these may be exceptions, it can happen!

Computers, IPODS and fancy cell phones are tempting targets for thieves anywhere and they are highly valued symbols of affluence and privilege.  It is not a good idea to carry personal electronics with you when you go running or plan to explore on foot.  In at least two incidents this year, Americans who had rented homes for longer visits were victims of home invasions and armed robberies in which valuable electronics were stolen.  In both cases, the Americans were physically threatened but ultimately unharmed.

Best ways to avoid problems?

  • Keep your passport on your person to make it harder for “snatch and grab” thieves.

  • Leave valuable jewelry at home.

  • Keep valuable electronics out of public sight.

  • Don’t carry all your money as cash – leave it in your bank account and use an ATM to withdraw what you need.

  • If you do carry cash, put it in a money belt carried under your clothing

  • Keep car windows closed and doors locked when you are traveling.