A travel advisory has been issued by the State Department if you are planning a trip to the Dominican Republic. It reads as follows:
Exercise increased caution in the Dominican Republic due to crime.
“Violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide, and sexual assault is a concern throughout the Dominican Republic. The development of a professional tourist police corps, institution of a 911 system in many parts of the country, and a concentration of resources in resort areas means these tend to be better policed than urban areas like Santo Domingo. The wide availability of weapons, the use, and trade of illicit drugs, and a weak criminal justice system contribute to the high level of criminality on the broader scale.”
The recent deaths of three Americans, happening just five days apart, including a husband and wife, has travelers wondering if they should cancel their trips.
All three were vacationing at a Dominican Republic hotel, the Bahia Principe Hotel in La Romana.
The cause for all three deaths was listed as respiratory failure.
This startling news also comes on the heels of a Delaware woman who said she was attacked while staying at a Punta Cana resort back in the winter when she left her room to get a late-night snack.
“I could hear footfalls behind me, and before I could turn around, he plowed into the back of me,” said Tammy Lawrence-Daley in an interview with CBS News.
If you decide to travel to the Dominican Republic:
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
- Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
- Follow the advice of resort and tour operators regarding local safety and security concerns
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for the Dominican Republic.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Travel experts also say:
- When checking into a hotel, don’t say your name out loud at the front desk. Rather, write it down or show an ID card.
- Ask the front desk to write your room number down instead of saying it out loud. If they do, ask for a different room.
- Lock your hotel room, including using a deadbolt on the door.
- If you’re staying alone, leave the TV on, even when you are not there.
Ref. MSN/lifestyle, WFSB-New Haven, Conn., travel.state.gov
Photo courtesy of Bing via cruiseexperts.com