I stayedin Cuenca for 6 weeks last year. I was robbed at knife point on day 1. It was a very professional job( to be admired if it was not criminal) You could have walked by 3 feet away and had no idea a knife point robbery was happening. 3 robbers 2 point & hand off guys.Let me be clear it was sunday afternoon @ 4p.m 20 yards from open stores. It was my only camera for cities. I chased the 3 guys, but UNluckily, a police SUV drove by at just the right moment-wrong. The high level cop was pissed that I stood in the road and stopped him. He was not interested and to my shame I did not speak enough spanish.
He left one of the hand off guys who, I yelled at to stop, to take me to the pharmacy to wait for his, 'the cops' return. At my small hotel I discovered a slew of people who had been robbed. 1-at gunpoint at the computer store,so of course everyone in the store handed over their computers. Another was sprayed with tomato sauce and of course the couple who rushed to his aid cleaned him out in 2. minutes. An international Iraqi photographer taking a break from conflict, he fought to keep his backpack and had his hand sliced for his efforts. Cuenca does have good medical care. The couple who volunteered to run a 2 month drama camp for indigenous kids. On the bus from Cunca he kept the computer bad between his feet, so a kid was sent under the seat, slit the bag and emptied it computer camera everything. Home invasions in a area of US retirees these were dramatic and evil, they beat the 68 year olds up broke ribs and arms. The gangs rely on the fact that most tourists leave within 10 days. The police will not write a report on any theft under $600, so work that one out, no paper trail, no crime. It took me 3 days to get a police report for my photo insurance with the help of a Spanish speaker, And the report needed an attorney to print and fill it out. Great value cheapest attorney I've ever used. For the rest of my stay, every day I did a personal body check before going out - no metal jewelry of any kind, no watch,no phone, $20 to hand over in case I was molested. Spare cash in my shoe A plastic grocery bag for a purse. I walked very fast to school and crossed the road whenever someone without a bag of any kind was heading towards me. One of Oregon Uni kids at the language school was robbed of her phone at knife point at 7am as she was on the phone. I could go on with many more accounts. I can provide names to go with these accounts. Cuenca has a beautiful down town and it is inexpensive. The people are very hard working, and quite friendly. The huge number of expats retiring, on the advice of -http://internationalliving.com/ is causing big problems in the town. It has become a magnet for criminal gangs. The company also owns property in Cuena and sells to retirees. Be wary of this company. Can you have a few days in Cuenca, within a group and not see any problems-yes of course. The locals are also being hit with robberies.