I live in the Cayo district in San Ignacio, Belize, and have lived here all my life. Thankfully, I’ve never had issues with crime. When you look at our area compared to Belize City, and if you read the news, there’s a lot of crime going on in Belize City, but a lot of it has to do with petty crime, gang-related or drug- related crime. Basically, it’s just one gang getting even with the other one. Thankfully, there are really no gangs in our areas, so there are no gang fights and gang rivalries.
There is crime in my area, but it’s usually petty crime like burglaries. Crime is something you really can’t avoid. It can happen anywhere, but there are security measures that you can take to be on the safer side. You just have to be smart about what you do and how you do it. For example, you don’t walk the streets late at night, like 11:00 or midnight. I don’t do it and I’m a local. You just don’t flash cash in front of people or wear lots of jewelry or brand name clothes because you can become a target. This is because foreigners stand out so much, they have to be careful.
For example, I had a neighbor who would park his car outside his yard. I told him to park his car inside his fence, but he said that he never had any trouble and he had been parking his car outside his yard for a long time. One morning, when I was taking out the garbage, I noticed that his car was missing a window. The reason this happened was because he had gotten home at midnight and he had forgotten to click the alarm, and he was being watched.
As for the shore and in the Cayes Islands, I have friends who live in Hopkins, which is on the shore. They are a couple from Canada and they love living there. They blend nicely with the locals and have made friends with the fishermen. They cook together with the ladies. If you look at the news, there’s hardly any crime going on, for example, in Placencia or in Hopkins. On the islands, you might hear about some crime, but it’s about somebody who went home late at night or somebody at a nightclub who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and they were a target. Like I said, staying safe is just being smart.
There are very few expats living in Belize City. In Belize City, I feel like I did in downtown Los Angeles, where you kind of just want to watch your back. In contrast, expats live in and around San Ignacio, Santa Elena, Corazon Town, Hopkins City, Placencia, some are in Punta Gorda, and on the Islands, Caye Caulker and San Pedro. Crime is substantially less in these locations than it is in in Belize City.