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As in many countries, tourists are often seen as potential prey for thieves. This seems particularly true for visitors to Santo Domingo, unfortunately, and so it is best to maintain a low profile when visiting. Mugging is the most common crime perpetrated against foreigners in Santo Domingo, though overall, crime is on the rise there. The criminals are not picky.
Maintain a vigilant awareness of your surroundings, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Large purses, backpacks, and visible money belts (such as fanny packs) are magnets to thieves. Be wary of nationals on mopeds or bicycles, as these often serve as get-away vehicles after ripping you off. ATM machines are also sites frequented by thieves. Credit card fraud is another avenue used against the unwary traveler, so try to limit its use and maintain close surveilance of it at all times.
Suspect unsolicited offers of help, even from innocent-looking children, as they may be pickpockets, though this is not always the case, of course. Be aware of currency-exchange vendors, who are not always honest.
Traffic safety regulations in Santo Domingo are not stringently enforced, so if you are renting a vehicle, proceed with caution. If at all possible, utilize only the taxi service provided by the hotel at which you are staying. Drivers here are not always honest, and reports of muggings by cab drivers have been reported.