If you look at the figures and the crime rate here in Belize, it seems to be dangerous here. But if you look at the crime rate by region, there is definitely much, much more crime in Belize City than in Cayo.
Last year, there were two expats murdered in Cayo. One was a Canadian film director who got killed and there was another woman from Chicago. They said that the Canadian man was killed by someone who knew him well and that the victim kept a lot of cash at his home. The woman from Chicago was a tourist who was attacked and killed but I think that it was just a bad coincidence and such crime could also happen anywhere in the world. It doesn’t necessarily mean that expats or tourists are a target of crime here in Belize.
Based on personal experience, I don’t feel unsafe here at all. I was never a victim of crime in Belize. I never got robbed. Sometimes, when I go shopping or when I do my groceries, I park my car on Burns Avenue, which is the main road in San Ignacio, the central area of Cayo. I leave it there unattended for an hour and when I come back, everything is still there; there is nothing missing from the car. I never feel unsafe and I am not scared here at all.
Yes, there is crime here in Belize but most of it is drug-related or the result of a personal issue, such as when some guy is messing around with the wrong woman and the husband gets jealous. In general, if you behave properly and don’t mess with people and if you don’t go to a bar and play the big guy and show off all your money and valuables, then you should be safe. I could go out at night on my own here in Cayo but I wouldn’t walk around alone at around 2 AM in a dark street, just as I wouldn’t if I was in Austria or in the US, or anywhere else.
Of course we lock our doors just as everybody else does. But we don’t have burglar bars on our windows. I am not in prison so I don’t want to live behind bars. We do have dogs that bark if somebody comes.
Comparing the type of crime here with e.g. Austria, where I am from, they’re totally different. Here in Belize, the violent crimes involve family or personal issues. Belizeans are much more emotional. If you embarrass somebody or if you treat Belizeans very badly, they might take revenge, and these emotional crimes don’t happen as much in Austria because our culture is different.
(Burns Avenue, Cayo, Belize, pictured.)