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lars forsberg of Longboat Retirement – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I've had many people from North America ask "Is Panama safe?" or "Is Boquete safe?"  I always chuckle and say yes, it's safe.
 
Naturally petty theft occurs and occasionally worse crime happens, but it's a safe place.  Honestly it's not as safe as Montana (my other home), but neither is well, pretty much any place else in the States, I guess.
 
Like any place that has large gaps in wealth, sometimes really poor people will take from the relatively wealthy.  I had a hammock stolen off of my porch once in Panama; oh well, 10 bucks.  I'm a fairly young guy and in decent shape, and certainly much taller than a Panamanian on average, but honestly I still don't wander around dark streets at night - just because I don't want to tempt anyone who is destitute, and maybe drunk!
 
Road from Boquete to Volcan, Chiriqui Province, Panama
 
(The video is "The Road from Boquete to Volcan, Chiriqui Province, Panama.")
 
 
 
Georgina Chanapi  of Lucero Homes, Golf & Country Club – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
overlooking Boquete Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBoquete is safe compared with other places in Panama. It is safe in most places within Chiriqui Province, within which, Boquete is one of the towns.
 
There is an organization here in Boquete that people call during emergencies called Alto al Crimen that helps people get in touch with the police more effectively. It is more effective if you call Alto al Crimen instead of calling the police directly. 
 
People here in Boquete live totally differently compared to people in other areas of Panama. Here in Boquete, you can leave your doors open without worrying about anyone breaking into your home.
 
For the most part, Panama is a safe country compared with other countries. I have a 3-year old son who plays outside without me getting scared that people might take him away.
 
Boquete is almost as safe as Switzerland, where I used to live. In Switzerland, I experienced going to work very early in the morning. I had to open the restaurant at around 3 AM. I could walk there at any time of the day and even at night without worrying. Boquete is almost the same thing. You will not have a problem with the people here in Boquete. In fact, if you have a problem or need help, the people here are very friendly and they’d help you.
 
Although there is still some room for improvement here, such as getting the police to make rounds, it is not to say that there is a lot of crime. We don’t have too many problems about people who come and steal from you. In gated communities, we have security, so if you want to feel safe, you can live in the gated communities and there are guards who will take good care of you.
Lissy Lezcano  of Lissy Lezcano Attorney & Mediator – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Hello Guys, Panamá in general terms is a very safe place.  If you compare the situation of the country with the social problems, economy, health, and education; it is not bad, we are growing as a country.
 
As a Panamanian and as a lawyer, I can tell you its getting better.  We need new laws to protect the citizens from crime.  If you take simple security rules in your daily life you will be fine in Panama. Welcome and enjoy Panama.
Valerie Bennett – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Yes - to get right to the point, There are exceptions of course but that comes with the same as living anywhere. Employ reputable people, take security precautions that you probably do wherever you came from (assuming you live here).
 
This is still a small town but growing! It’s exciting but also a little disconcerting. The Sam issues that at least from my experience, happened when I lived in the US.
John Gilbert of PanamaKeys – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Tuscan-style home in Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingOverall, Boquete is extremely safe. Is there crime in Boquete? Yes, there is crime in Boquete. Is the government responsive to the crimes that happen in Boquete? Yes, the government is responsive to crimes in Boquete. The government is also responsive to the needs of the expat community when crimes pop up against them in Boquete. 
 
If you lived in Chicago where there are 20 shootings over a weekend, it almost becomes a non-news story because shootings are very common. Here in Boquete, on the other hand, crime is still so relatively rare that when it does occur, it’s the front-page story, and everybody hears about it and talks about it. 
 
When you’re comparing the safety of Boquete to the safety of any inner city in the United States, it’s apples and oranges. There’s no better place to be than Boquete, and it’s a clear choice. Boquete is safer than any of the inner cities in the United States.
 
I love Central Kentucky because it’s my hometown. Central Kentucky is where I have family and many friends. For a relatively small city in the United States, Frankfort, Kentucky which is where I’m from experiences a high crime rate in terms of robberies, violent assaults against individuals, drug use and heroine abuse. On the other hand, you don’t see much of crimes like these in Boquete. In fact, I can’t remember hearing of any kind of drug-related problems in Boquete. 
 
In Boquete, when you hear about the occasional break-ins happening to the expat community, it makes front page news because it doesn’t happen often. There’s no doubt that Boquete is a safe haven for the expat community. There’s no place where you can ever completely eliminate a risk factor and consider it 100% safe, but you can mitigate those factors, and people routinely do here in Boquete. 
 
Boquete is not only safe, it also has qualified professionals who will help make Boquete safer for you. These professionals in Boquete help with safety equipment such as security systems, ironwork for doors, and security doors. These are types of things that you don’t really see around Frankfort. 
 
In Boquete, whenever you see iron bars and security doors in Panamanian-style homes, it indicates a fear factor because Boquete used to be dangerous back in the Noriega days, and the fear factor has just been carried over. As people in Boquete have grown up having bars on the windows and doors, it has felt normal for them to have these bars. When they have their own families and their own homes, they still have bars on the windows and doors. Having these bars is not necessarily a situation where people are in danger, but it’s a perceived risk of being in danger, and it’s one of the ways they mitigate that risk here in Boquete.
 
(Tuscan-style home in Boquete, Panama, pictured.)
jaime costa – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Relief map of Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere is more crime here than most know because they don't live in the Panamanian community like I do. The bars on the windows are there because people steal. Not any historical reason. My next elderly Panamanian next door neighbor just added bars to his older house, and he doesn't really have money to spare. Some houses here have razor wire, which certainly isn't historical. I grew up in Detroit and at the time NOBODY had razor wire. Maybe now in other neighborhoods, but I Googled my old neighborhood and even now, no razor wire.
 
Panama as a whole is over 3x more murderous than the US as a whole per UN stats.
 
I have experienced burglaries, fraud and worse here.
 
Having said that, if you are prepared and don't be naive, the crime (tho getting worse) is not as bad as other places.
You can walk around all hours and usually be OK, but there are isolated cases of people being victimized on the street, tho rare.
Don't count on the police being much help. I could tell u stories!
 
(Relief map of Panama, pictured.)
 
Manzar Lari  of Casa de Montaña – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Terrace of Casa de Montana, Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingOverall, I would say that Boquete is very safe. 
 
Boquete is a small town, with probably about 25,000 people, and you would expect small towns to be safer than a large city, which Boquete is. I feel safe completely safe any time of the day in Boquete, in any areas of Boquete where I choose to walk in; day or night I feel completely safe walking around.
 
We do not have burglar bars on our windows or doors. We do, however, have some security cameras that record everything that’s going on. We have chosen to do that since we’re a hotel and we want our guests to feel secure and safe.
 
We are located on the main road that runs through downtown Boquete, a kilometer (a little more than half a mile) past the downtown area. So we are located at a 15-minute walk to downtown Boquete. We are separated from downtown by a very good neighborhood. 
 
We built our B & B and we moved in October 2013 and we opened our business on January 10, 2014.   Since that time, we have not had a single incident where any kind of safety was compromised; our guests or our premises.
 
(Terrace of Casa de Montana with security lights, Boquete, Panama, pictured.)
Penny Barrett of Fundacion Bid 4 Bouquete – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

Boquete, for a town this size, I think is safer than most towns of the same size in the US. There may be some property crimes, such as things being stolen when you leave them out overnight, which is mostly because of the disparity of income and in wealth between the expat population and the local population. You would not see or hear about a lot of violent crimes or crimes against a person here in Boquete.

The houses here in Boquete have bars on the windows, but that is because it is the Spanish way of building a house. Having bars on the windows is very common in houses in Latin America, Central America, and even in Spain. In addition to being decorative, the bars on the windows serve a purpose, too; they serve as a deterrent against break-ins and entry. Some bars on the windows are very fancy and have beautiful ironwork. The bars are actually also a part of the decor of the house. Just because you see bars on the windows here in Boquete does not mean that it is an unsafe area.

Vannessa Solano of Activentas, S.A. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

Boquete is not a huge place. It is one of the districts in Chiriquí, which is one of the provinces in Panama. It is not a dangerous place, because it is a small town so everybody knows everybody. Of course, we hear of some crimes here and there but that is something that can happen everywhere. If I would compare Boquete to Miami, Florida, where I have stayed for a few years, I would say that Boquete is a lot safer. 

Linda Jensen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I personally feel that Boquete is safe.
 
Most crimes in Boquete are crimes of opportunity.  If you leave your computer in your car, even if your car locked but the computer visible from the street, your computer could get stolen.  There’s not a lot of that, but it does happen.
 
My husband was out of the country for 30 days, and I never felt unsafe in Boquete.  I went through my normal routine, going downtown, shopping, etc.  Panama is not an unsafe country and they do have a lot of national police around in general.  Especially if there’s a festival or anything else going on, there’s a good police presence.
 
To give you a point of comparison, I used to live in Mineral Wells, Texas, which is 45 miles west of Fort Worth and I can tell you that I definitely feel safer here in Boquete.  If I needed something in Boquete at night, I would go to town by myself, although I would be aware of my surroundings and I would walk on lighted streets.
 
To give you another example, my neighbor is a beautiful and active 65-year-old Panamanian woman who moved back to Boquete about six months ago after living in the US for 40 years.  She gets up early and goes jogging for five to six miles in Boquete in the dark, with no problems.
Roger J. Pentecost of Boquete Valley of Flowers Condos – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Yes, Boquete is very safe.  Boquete is most probably one of the safest places in Panama and Panama is very much safer than all the surrounding countries.  I believe that in certain aspects of crime, Panama is far safer than what I’ve experienced when visiting the US and Canada.
 
As a point of personal reference, in the six to eight years I've been here, I have never seen a shoot out in the street in Panama, and I’ve traveled around the country a lot, whether its in Boquete, Panama City or places in between for horse shows and for business.  I have, however, seen shoot outs in Vancouver, British Columbia, and also in Calgary there was a shootout in a carport where I did my banking, right in the center of the city.  When I was in California, my daughter went to UCLA.  She had to travel one way in the morning and the other way at night, because certain areas of LA are not safe to travel at night.  I was at Venice Beach, California one day with my children about twelve years ago, and when we walked out on the beach, they were just putting up the yellow tape around a victim from a shootout that had just occurred.
 
I give all this background because I’ve never seen anything like that in Boquete or in Panama.
 
In a country like Panama that has some people who are quite poor, “economic crime” can happen, but it has never happened to me.  Once again, as a point of personal reference, we were robbed in our house in Canada, but we’ve never been robbed here.
 
Boquete is sort of like a cul-de-sac at the end of a dead end road.  You don’t go up in the mountains from here unless you’re willing to do a lot of very dangerous hiking.  And any criminal driving from David (the nearest larger city, slightly less than an hour away) to Boquete to do an economic crime can get caught quite quickly, because the police can shut the road, which they have, if something happens the odd time.  But, we’ve seen very few problems.
 
Also in Panama, if you qualify, you are allowed to carry a handgun just like you are in certain areas of the US.   (More on that in the “Panama gun laws” section of this site.)
 
Why do you see so many bars on the windows in Boquete?  Many of the expats believe erroneously what they’ve been told, that Panama is a dangerous country.   When foreigners come to Boquete, they tend to want bars because they’re concerned about security.  When Panamanians come to Boquete, they tend to want bars because they’re used to bars from the other places they've lived, perhaps bad areas within Panama City.
 
When we purchased it, my house here in Boquete had bars on the windows and metal doors.  I took all the bars off and replaced the metal doors.  I won’t live behind bars (if I have any choice in the matter).  We do have lights that come on around our house, just like we did in Canada.  In Canada, I couldn’t carry a gun.  Here, I can, and do.
 
I don’t believe, however, that you can be complacent about safety in any country in the world.   I’ve always worked on the premise that if I’m harder to knock over than the next guy the chances are the other guy will get knocked over.  So, I make my place a little more difficult for any would be criminal, with a wall around it and motion detector lights and alarm.
 
I don’t believe that we need any of these deterrents for personal safety anywhere near as much as we need them to protect our physical items like handbags, credit cards, TVs, etc.  When we hear of robberies here, it is these types of items that are taken, because these are the items that are easiest to fenced or sold on the street.
 
I only know of a few “injury type” crimes involving any foreigners and they were either because the people involved were playing with drugs, or when someone’s been involved with activities they shouldn’t be, for example, with an under aged girl, or with someone else’s wife.
 
 
Philip McGuigan of Chiriqui United, an Association of the leading humanitarian organizations in the Chiriqui Province of Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Living here in Boquete, whether you are a Panamanian or an expat, if you can afford it, you will have either bars on all your doors and windows, or alarms, or both.
 
Fenced yards are very common and many people have dogs as further protection. Our dogs are outside during the day and inside at night; and we feel great comfort having them with us.
 
There is an organization here in Boquete called Alto Al Crimen which does a very good job of holding seminars on a periodic basis, particularly for new arrivals, where they teach smart ways to address safety issues
 
They have the Boquete 911 Man , Rodny.  He is just wonderful. If you have trouble, you pick up the phone and call Rodny; and he will answer your call 24 hours a day. He speaks perfect English and he’s got a great relationship with the Police. He will provide you the assistance you need. Everyone has Rodny’s phone number; it is published all over. Because he has arthrogryposis, Rodny is a close to being a quadriplegic. He has just enough movement to use a computer and a cell phone.
 
He is the best of the best.
 
If you have registered with Alto al Crimen, when you call Rodny he will access his database and retrieve all your information, including directions on how the Police should get to your house. If you live in Boquete, Rodney is paid by Alto Al Crimen utilizing donated funds. Rodny also has clients in both Volcan and in Coronado who he charges on a yearly basis for his services.
 
In addition, there is a well staffed Police Station less than one block from the Boquete Town Square and the Police maintain a comfortable presence throughout the Boquete area.
 
So, do I feel safe in Boquete?  Yes, I do.
 
I searched my memory to think of the last time I heard someone here say they did not feel safe. The only one I could think of is a wonderful woman who lives in a reasonably remote area, whose husband had just died. Being alone, without any dogs, made her a little uneasy even though she had a decent alarm system. She now has two dogs and feels much better.
 
It is such a charged question. Everyone has a different opinion. This is one of the real hot buttons here. You do have some of the folks who are selling alarm systems shouting “Fear, fear, fear!” since they believe it is their best sales pitch.
 
In any event, those of us who have have taken the appropriate precautions recommended by Alto al Crimen feel very comfortable living here.
 
Another quick example from personal experience regarding the relative safety of Boquete. 
 
I had wonderful tenants from Costa Roca in my rental property. When I first met with them they said, “We can’t rent here, you don’t have a garage (only a carport), so within a week all of the tires on our car will be gone.”
 
I told them that will definitely not happen in Boquete; and they were very happy to hear that.
 
They informed me that that it would in fact happen outside of San Juan, Costa Rica, where they had been living.   I also have a number of pals who live in Costa Rica and they tell me that there is a much bigger problem with crime in Costa Rica than in Panama.
Harry Hunt of ownboquete – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Here in Boquete I do not know anyone who has been robbed. I do know two people whose cars were broken into and the radio stolen.
 
When I was building my first house the window guys broke in and got a chain saw and a Skilsaw as they knew how to take apart the windows and get in. I now have bars everywhere and have not had any more problems.
 
Many people bring misfortune upon themselves, I had a construction crew from David work on my house on the beach. They were doing a lousy job and I fired them but paid them completely and got another crew from Boquete to finish the job. The original crew never paid the day laborers from the town I live in on the beach.  I didn't realize this as they never came to me; just the guy I fired and had hired them. He told them that he had never been paid by me so he could not pay them, so they broke in and took enough stuff to make up their pay.  The reason for this is that there are some people who think they don't have to pay people down here and have work done and don't pay. They tell poor ignorant people to get a lawyer and sue them and then unceremoniously kick the people off of their property. This is never the way to behave in someone else's country and sooner rather than later this catches up to them and they leave saying what a terrible place this is.
 
I know what the crime is like in America and we have nothing like it here. I have friends from Belize, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Jamaica and they all left to come here because of the crime in those places. I have bars but no dog or gun and I sleep well at night. I also try to understand the people who are working for me and treat them with the respect that they deserve. Contrary to what some people believe, there are a great many people who are living here who are not afraid and not getting robbed.
 
Your friend, Harry
GISELLE SOCARRAZ of Real Estate Chiriqui – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Boquete is very safe. The strong community and watchful police presence assure a level of protection that few can match. However,  please be sure to still be observant and use common sense when dealing with others.
 

 
Paul McBride – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Because the community of Boquete is proactive in working with local law enforcement and municipal officials it has become the model for communities elsewhere in the country and one of the safest places to live in Panama.
 
It is very safe to walk the streets, even at night.  

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