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Home Panama First Impressions Drug- related deaths in Panama City increasing

Drug- related deaths in Panama City increasing

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 Do not buy the real estate agent and tourism hype that Panama is totally safe. This is a notice from Southern Pulse newsletter:

PANAMA

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli inaugurated the Preventive Security Cabinet, which will create a strategy to deal with the most violent municipalities in the country, on 5 May 2010. Officials have recorded 289 murders in the first four months of 2010, 46 more than at the same point in 2009.

 

Editor's note: The USA is building 4 navy bases in Panama to help fight drug-smuggling. Three of them will be on the Pacific side, one on the Caribbean side.

The most violent municipalities in Panama City are where the 80 known gangs or pandillas live, including Santa Ana, San Miguelito, Calidonia, parts of El Chorillo and the entire city of Colon are considered no-go areas. I have many articles on this website about crime and murder rates in Central America.

Panama is less than 10% of the Mexican drug war rates, and safer than almost any other country in Central or South America.

For example, Casco Viejo (Old Town) is right next to Santa Ana (a very bad area) but they have Tourist Police everywhere in Casco Viejo and it is very safe place to go and visit or to live. I take visitors there all the time, it is a "must-see" part of Panama.

We were broken into the first week we were here - while we were sleeping in the house - before I had any bars on my doors and window, before I had any alarms on the doors or windows. 

My realtor had foolishly suggested that I leave the front and back windows open to allow the breeze to flow through. I did as she suggested. Well the soft breeze did come through, and swept away my laptop, my camera, my cell phone, my wallet and my cash. Don't make yourself a victim.

In three years we have lived here, neither of us have personally witnessed or been a victims of violent crime. However, it does happen and some areas are worse than others as I indicated. Get a map and learn the city.

We were broken into or had our stuff stolen many times from our secure, fenced-in backyard when we lived in downtown Toronto, and it happened so many times in Picton, ON; a tiny town of 4,000 in Price Edward County,  that they cancelled my insurance - so theft can - and does happen anywhere.

I feel safe in Panama, including Panama City. I do drive at night in the interior. I am careful where I drive, especially at night. I feel much less safe in most large North American cities at night. Panama City is hard to get around as there are no street signs. If you are going to spend the night in the City and don't know it well, park your car at your hotel and take cabs. All cabs in Panama are supposed to be painted yellow. Cabs to anywhere in the city are $1.50 - $3.00 ($5.00 if you get one right outside your hotel - walk down the street)

Be smart, and stay healthy my friends. Roberto Chocolaté

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 15 May 2010 13:10  

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