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.