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unsafe in Puerto Rico???

New Jersey
posts: 38
reviews: 55
unsafe in Puerto Rico???

I make it a point to do months of intense "investigating" prior to making any travel arrangements. The safety of my children is always top priority. I was very comfortable with my decision to take our annual spring family vacation in Puerto Rico until about a month ago. Since then I have heard from several people (2 travel agents included) that several sections of Puerto Rico are very dangerous for tourists (robberies in daylight, car jackings, muggings). We are staying in a private condo in Fajardo and I am now very concerned about my familys' safety. Can someone who has been there RECENTLY please fill me in on any truths and correct any misconceptions. Thank you!

King of Prussia...
Destination Expert
for San Juan, Ponce
posts: 5,643
reviews: 42
1. Re: unsafe in Puerto Rico???

Dangerous areas exist everywhere, not just PR. Hence Camden in Jersey, which has been declared one of the most dangerous cities in the US mainland.

Crime in PR is mostly drug related. If you're not into that kind of business you have nothing to worry about. Fajardo in general is pretty safe.

It's all about common sense and not venturing into dark areas, or areas that look suspicious. Just use the same precautions you would use anywhere else -even at home- and you will be fine.

Cleveland, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Puerto Rico, Carolina
posts: 7,126
reviews: 22
2. Re: unsafe in Puerto Rico???

Agreed. Puerto Rico is the size of Conneticut. San Juan is over a million people!

Armonk, New York
posts: 1,106
reviews: 74
3. Re: unsafe in Puerto Rico???

While there has been an increase in crime recently, most of the crime is concentrated in some of the less good sections of San Juan and,as noted above, is largely a function of the drug trade.

We go shopping in Fajardo all the time - day and night - and it is a very safe area. I would recommend the brand new Ralf's Supermarket in Fajardo - the nicest on the island. It is not one of the major trouble spots.

Frankly, the Puerto Ricans themselves are very upset about the upturn in crime (including some members of this forum) and are very vocal about it. Hence, their heated discussions are echoed a great deal in the press. This needs to be put in context. The crime rates in PR are about the same as in Washington DC, which receives tens of millions of tourists a year with little difficulty. Second, because it is a hot political topic on the island, the government is under intense pressure to do something about it. Law enforcement is very visible especially in tourist areas. I would worry more about places (like Jamaica) where the problems are swept under the rug.

usa
posts: 5,045
reviews: 9
4. Re: unsafe in Puerto Rico???

Yes, there is crime in Puerto Rico and it is worse in some areas than others, particularly in the Metro San Juan area, but it has also recently been increasing even in rural areas. Sadly, as mentioned above, illegal drugs have overtaken the island and most crimes are directly or indirectly related to it. For the most part, tourists have never been specifically targeted for crime in PR like other vacation destinations. The tourist areas are generally ok, because there is usually a police presence. In OSJ, for example, it is advantageous that the Governor's mansion is in the old city. The police presence is essential in that case.

Travel as you would anywhere in the U.S. I have never been a victim of crime in my area, but I still lock my car doors, leave nothing valuable on the car seats, avoid trouble areas, especially at night and use good common sense. I do the same in PR. At any public areas, especially beaches and pool areas never leave any valuables unattended. Instead of venturing out on a discovery tour, know where you are going. It helps to do research about tourist destinations in advance, instead of leaving your vacation to chance encounters. Most activities in PR are scheduled by appointment anyway, similar to the standard here on the mainland.

5. Re: unsafe in Puerto Rico???

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Edited: 2:05 pm, February 01, 2012
King of Prussia...
Destination Expert
for San Juan, Ponce
posts: 5,643
reviews: 42
6. Re: unsafe in Puerto Rico???

I'm positive that I speak for 99% of us when I say pls don't let the above post discourage you. Of course, San Juan is the crime capital in the caribbean. It's the biggest city in the caribbean! It makes sense. Think about it: the larger the city, the larger the population numbers and the problems.

"Close friend of mine was victim of a carjacking during daylight in Condado last year."

Hello?? This has absolutely nothing to do with San Juan or PR in general at all. This can happen anywhere: here in Philadelphia, in New York, in LA, in Vegas, and anywhere else including ritzy areas.

As long as you use the same precautions you would use anywhere else -even at home- and you will be fine.

Edited: 1:57 pm, February 01, 2012
New Jersey
posts: 38
reviews: 55
7. Re: unsafe in Puerto Rico???

I thank you all for you posts. Yes, it is true crime is everywhere. I am no fool and I am certainly not a first time traveler. I just grew overly concerned due to the sudden bumbarment of bad news I was getting. Plus when it comes to my kids..........enough said. Thanks again everyone. I feel better and I am sure we will enjoy our trip.

New Jersey
posts: 38
reviews: 55
8. Re: unsafe in Puerto Rico???

Yes, I think some of my worry was due to the islands small size yet large population.

Cleveland, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Puerto Rico, Carolina
posts: 7,126
reviews: 22
9. Re: unsafe in Puerto Rico???

You'll be surprised on how big it really is. It's a half days drive from east to west and a lot of it is on interstate type roads. There is a northern and southern mountain range with a central valley. Fresh water lakes etc. Most of the population is gathered around San Juan as you would expect. But get away and up into the mountains, It becomes quiet and very rural. The people are wonderful. It's very family oriented, your kids will have a great time and so will you.

usa
posts: 5,045
reviews: 9
10. Re: unsafe in Puerto Rico???

While you are in Fajardo, you may want to go to Culebra in a day trip, which I think is the safest municipality in PR. It is really laid-back and the beaches are very clean and undeveloped. Flamenco Beach is by far the best beach in PR and has consistently made it in the top ten of beaches in the world. Spend the day there and relax. I love the island. It has the Caribbean feel that most islands of the Caribbean have lost.