Most of the crimes in Belize take place in Belize City and almost all are in one neighborhood where the drug dealers go after each other. This highly skews the Belize crime statistics. Outside of Belize City, if you took the number of crimes, it is safe.
I have had no issues driving the roads. I would not suggest for people to drive at night if they do not know where they are going. Most roads are not paved and you should be aware of the potholes.
Relative to freedom, I would put living in Belize as similar to living in the US in the 50’s before the government "knew" "what is best" for its citizens.
Once you are away from Belize City it’s really safe.
You may have the random instances where somebody could walk up the street and he is a little bit messed up and he would steal your garden hose. Car batteries are a little bit easier to sell and may be stolen.
I had a condo in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye and somebody entered my condo when I was there, asleep. The fellow took a wallet out of my pants’ pocket. He went through the wallet on the way out, took the cash that was inside the wallet and threw the wallet and the credit cards on the ground. A report was filed with the police. They never caught the felon.
As a point of comparison, my house got broken into three times in California. Also, my cars were broken into quite a bit in California. Comparatively, I had this one incident in Belize. They came in and didn’t bother to disturb me. San Pedro is an area with a lot of people and when there’s no tourists (for example, in the Low Season), people get a little hungry. I would think that the crime in San Pedro is probably a little bit higher than the norm throughout Belize other than Belize City.
In Corozal, where I live, we don’t have bars on the windows. In town, lots of people do because it is just the way that they build houses here. Specifically, I live in Cerro Sands and there are no bars on the windows here. We live on a peninsula. There is one road in, and we are surrounded by water on three sides, so I don’t think we are going to have any issues. Any houses I build are not going to have bars on the windows unless somebody specifically asks for them. A bar for serving drinks on their roof-top is a more likely addition.
In town, if you are going to leave your house for a while, you are probably going to want to have bars on the windows. That is just the way they do it there. They make decorative bars. The houses are close together in town. It’s not like they are on ¼ acre lots. Most town lots are 60 by 100, so your setbacks are small.
Cerro Sands has an entry gate, but it is not walled. Most places here do not have an entry gate or have a guard at the entry. If they have a gate, likely nobody is stationed there.
We only started building at Cerro Sands 3 years ago, so we are relatively new, but again we are on a peninsula so there is only one road in next to the village.
The villages in Belize usually have a lot of people who are related to each other living there. I heard that some guy from town came to their village and stole a bicycle. Before he got about a block and a half somebody noticed he was not from the neighborhood, and they knew the bicycle. Least to say the thief will not be coming back to this village anytime soon. They called the police, who were late in coming. His time was not very well spent. Then they got tired of dealing with the thief, so they dropped him off at the ferry, which goes across the river.
The cops finally came and saw him all bloody, and the guy said, “The people from the village beat me up.”
The people from the village said, “You’re the guy who stole the bike.” After hearing this, the police put the thief in the back of the police car.
In Belize, you don’t worry about violence against your person. You will be called “sir” or “mister” or "ma'am," followed by your first name. I go in the bank and they call me “sir” and I will say, “My dad is ‘sir’. You guys know me.” They’ll say, “Oh yes, Mr. Mark.”
Many folks in our local village have the same respect. If you go to a birthday party like a quinceanos, which is a 15-year's old birthday party, the locals will treat you the way you treat them. Once you assimilate in, or even if you just stay by yourself, you are not going to have problems at all. If you break down on the side of the road there, the people in the first car that goes by will stop and help you.
(Cerros Sand property on the peninsula protected by water, pictured.)