The Dominican Republic is a country where you need to know about safety in advance. That is why this article is very important. Safety in the Dominican Republic is not the safest, but first things first. I will tell you the whole truth about this, as well as you will learn what to be prepared for an ordinary tourist in the Dominican Republic.

Table of contents:

Dominican Republic Police
Police cars look like this. On the windshield, you can also find a large Tourist Protection sticker. They are always ready to help, but they have problems with English.

All about safety in the Dominican Republic

Ten to fifteen years ago, when tourism was already popular in the Dominican Republic, the crime situation was critical. Tourists were not even recommended to leave the hotel. Robberies and thefts were even committed in resort areas. This information is still being reprinted on the internet today.

Crime situation and security in the Dominican Republic today

The main problem of the Dominican Republic is its proximity to the Republic of Haiti. In short, the island on which the Dominican Republic is located also includes Haiti. For more information about this in the article “Dominikana on the world map“.

Brief reference:

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. There is a huge level of poverty, crime, hunger, epidemics. And it is not surprising that most Haitians seek a better life in a neighboring country.

There are many illegal immigrants from Haiti in the Dominican Republic and not all of them are ready for honest work. This is why there is a higher level of crime here than in our countries.

But today, the authorities in the Dominican Republic have been able to take control of the situation and the situation is generally normal. You do not need to worry about your safety on all the country’s resorts, in all the cities of the north, and in the central districts of Santo Domingo.

However, local residents everywhere still put bars on all windows and close all doors at night. The owner of one apartment told us that there have not been bandits in his area for a long time, but the habit of putting bars and closing all doors remains.

crime in the Dominican republic
An ordinary street of an ordinary city. There are bars on all doors and windows. This is normal even for safe areas.

Where to keep the money?

The most difficult question for all tourists. When you are going to the Dominican Republic and reading reviews and articles, you get three important points:

  • Do not keep money in the room, even in the safe. Because thieves can climb through the balcony, hotel staff are not always trustworthy and it is generally not safe.
  • Do not carry all your money with you, especially at night and in non-tourist places
  • Try not to use ATMs to withdraw cash, as there are many scammers in this sphere in the Dominican Republic

And of course, after reading these three points, you will ask where to keep the money :). Recommendations and advice will be at the end of the article.

bars on windows on windows in the Dominican republic
Even in tourist areas, in villas with beautiful views, they put bars on all windows and balconies. Our villa in Las Galeras.

What should a tourist be afraid of today?

As mentioned above, the situation in the Dominican Republic is generally improving everywhere. But there are things that should be avoided if not feared. But even if it didn’t happen, it doesn’t mean that you will be robbed around the corner.

It is worth fearing:

  • Car thefts. It’s easy to break the glass to get coins from the dashboard of a car that are in plain sight
  • Minor pocket thefts and thefts of items left unattended. This is not China, you left your phone on a bench, no one will run after you and return it to you
  • Visiting the outskirts of Santo Domingo, especially at night. In the center in the Colonial zone you can safely walk around the clock.
  • Not often and not everywhere, but small robberies at night still happen. You are walking down the street at night, two people run up to you, hold a knife to your throat, take your wallet and run away.
  • Tourists in border towns with Haiti, such as Pedernales for example, have nothing special to do. Some people there are engaged in illegal activities, so it is better not to attract attention to yourself.
  • As for attacks on tourists, they are extremely rare, but they do happen. In most cases, these are not random attacks, but conflicts that have escalated due to alcohol or drugs.

It is important to know:

There are a lot of police in the Dominican Republic, even more where there are tourists. The police are always behind you and do not be afraid to turn to them for help or, in case of any situation, threaten unknown people with the police. Often there are armed guards near banks and shops, they are also always ready to help you.

My personal opinion, all crime in the Dominican Republic is as follows: these are petty thefts and robberies, more often at night, without violence and harm to a person.

Any bandit, especially an illegal migrant from Haiti who does not even have money for a plate of rice, does not want to harm anyone, since the entire police of the region will be looking for him. Their task is to steal something quickly and run away so that the likelihood of the victim contacting the police is minimal.

Given the choice, break glass for $3 while no one is watching and run away, or go on an armed robbery for $50-$100 where they can fight back. They will most likely choose the first one.

what is the crime rate in the Dominican Republic
Triple fences like this: concrete, fence, barbed wire, are not uncommon in the Dominican Republic.

Safety in the Dominican Republic: tips for tourists

So here are the precautions you need to know. Remember, forewarned is forearmed. And the risk of losing some of your belongings will be minimal.

  • Hide all items in the trunk of the car. Don’t leave anything visible inside the car, especially phones, any money, even small amounts, and bags/backpacks.
  • It is recommended to have either a second purse with change or $ 20 in some pocket. In case of an unpleasant situation, give it to the guys with a knife and they will run away.
    • We have never encountered such a thing in two years, but the advice is valid.
  • Always lock all windows and doors at night.
  • When you go out, even if you live on high floors, always close the balcony.
  • If you decide to hide money in the room, don’t hide it under the mattress or in shoes, it will be found first there. Find a secret place in the apartment
  • On the street, try not to show large sums of money, expensive jewelry, etc.

In conclusion: it’s not all as bad as they say on the Internet. Safety in the Dominican Republic today is at a fairly high level, and crime has dropped to record lows for this country.

Yes, the number of thefts is higher than in London or New York, but if you follow all the precautions, you can rest peacefully and nothing will happen. And on popular tourist resorts such as Bavaro, there is nothing to fear even at night, there have been no bandits there for several years.

Be vigilant, have a safe and relaxing holiday!

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Dominican Republic

  • Flights at the best prices with discounts
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars – a largest international resource
  • Hotels and apartments:
    • Hotellook – compares hotel prices among dozens of booking platforms and offer you the best price.
    • Booking – large online booking platform.
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Dominican Republic.
  • Vacation packages:
    • Expedia – best deals from Europe.
    • CheapOair – cheap packages from all US cities.
  • Tours, excursions and extreme activities:
    • GetYourGuide – more than 800+ tours and water activities.
    • Viator – 3500+ tours and excursions in Dominican.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
  • Internet and Calls:
    • Airalo – eSIM with internet package.
    • Drimsim – universal SIM card (or eSIM) in any country in the world.
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel