Dominican Republic Safety

When thinking about visiting a foreign country, there are a lot of factors to consider. And safety is usually one of the top factors on every traveler’s list. If a country isn’t safe, then it’s off limits for most people. And to be clear, when talking about safety we are mainly talking about the prevalence of violent crime. Petty crime such as pick pockets does factor in, but it’s not as much of a concern. So the question people often ask: is the Dominican Republic safe? The answer is yes, if you are smart and take the proper precautions. Otherwise you can get yourself into trouble. I will describe below how to keep yourself safe in the Dominican Republic.

The first obvious point is to avoid drugs and prostitution. This can get you in trouble anywhere, not just in the DR. There’s just no good that can come out of these types of things. You are putting yourself in harms way by dealing with shady characters. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s look at some of the other ways to protect yourself.

Stay in a Good Location

Always know where you are at all times, and always know where you are going. A lot of violent crime happens in specific areas, so it’s best to avoid those areas. These areas are often poorer and are known as ‘barrios’. You never want to step foot in barrios and it’s not even recommended to drive through them. But if you do find yourself driving through a barrio then keep all the windows up, and don’t get out of the car. Another point is that if you don’t know where an area is, then ask someone if it’s safe. You don’t want to go to an unknown area only to find out later that it’s not safe.

It’s important to stay in the right areas. You want to have a place in the middle to upper class areas. While there is still crime here, it’s significantly less. In Santo Domingo, the recommended areas are: Piantini, Naco, Gazcue, and the Malecon.

Be Street Smart

Dominicans are natural-born hustlers, and you have to be street smart in order to know if someone is trying to hustle you or not. Most likely they are. A Dominican guy that approaches you on the street and tries to make small talk is almost certainly trying to hustle you for money. This is especially true in the tourist areas, where a lot of Dominicans make money off of tourists. You have to be especially careful of Dominican guys in lower-class areas who speak perfect English, chances are they were deported from the United States.

Another part of being street smart is not bringing your valuables with you when walking around. You don’t want to have a DSL camera around your neck unless you are on the Conde in Zona Colonial. It’s best to also leave fancy watches at home. I wouldn’t even recommend bringing your phone with you when leaving the house unless you really need it. If you get robbed then they are going to ask for your phone. One other tip is to wear cargo pants when traveling. These pants make it so your valuables are more secure, thus reducing the chance you get pick-pocketed.

Be Selective on Guests

If you are staying in a hotel, then this topic doesn’t apply to you. But if you’re staying in an apartment or house, then you want to be careful on who you bring over. Once someone knows where you live, they can potentially rob you. But this tip applies more towards the Dominican women. If she knows where you live then she can come to your place unannounced, and no guy wants that. There is a reason that there are a lot of cabanas in this country, otherwise known as love motels. You can rent out a cabana for a couple hours and bring a girl with you. It’s safer like that.


Overall you should be fine if you are careful here. You shouldn’t act stupid in a 1st world country, and you really shouldn’t act stupid in a 3rd world country. Follow my tips and you should be good.

Posted in: Tourist Information

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