The crime rate in Cayo against Americans and other expats is very, very low. I am proud to say that over the last couple of years there’s only been a couple of robberies, and there haven’t been any fatalities. There’s a lot of police presence in Cayo and people there are very helpful a
s well, so the crime rate is not what it sounds like on the news.
The main reason why the crime rate for Belize has ranked so high is based on the country’s low population. We only have 250,000 citizens so when you have a murder a month and you compare it to the full population it would seem to be a very high rate. We don’t have a cowboy environment here. We don’t have people walking around with guns; they’re prohibited. Only licensed firearms are allowed and you’re not allowed to carry them outside or easily visible.
The crime in Belize is normally centered in Belize City in one specific area called the south side Belize City, which is far away from Cayo. Most of the expats in the Cayo area live out in the open, as opposed to behind guard gates. The only expats who would have a fence are the ones who have pets. They don’t want their pets to be roaming around, so they build a fence, but the fence is very friendly and still open because it is not too high; not made of bricks or blocks. The fence would normally be chain-linked and it’s very transparent.
Some people in Cayo have burglar bars, if they have a lot of valuables in their home. One of the other reasons for burglar bars is if you’re in a secluded area. However, in town, we don’t see burglar bars that often. It’s not necessary because Cayo is a low crime area, and not a place where there are a lot of robberies or home invasions.
I was just in Cayo last Thursday. I spent a wonderful overnight and I came back Friday afternoon. I have no concerns when I go to Cayo. It’s very peaceful there, very quiet and the people are very friendly. Everybody knows everybody so you’re pretty safe. And people are very open to meeting new people. I can tell you because I made some friends last Thursday and Friday.
(Hotel in the center of San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize, pictured.)