Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Staying Safe in Dumaguete

People often ask, "How safe is Dumaguete for foreigners?" This of course is a somewhat loaded question. To be safe, secure in ones home, or safe to act as one might in their own country. Safety is a state of mind regardless of where you are.
Of course certain realities exist and will intervene no matter where you live. Dumaguete is a growing small provincial capital. With growth comes an influx of money to the area. And if you think just a little, criminals will be attracted to the riches and perceived wealth. Crime is extant in Dumaguete. If your main concern is your personal safety, there are ways to easily ensure a relatively safe and secure stay or residence here. It is no different than anywhere else.

The difference in Dumaguete, is that if you are an expat, you will become a target for those few criminal elements who percieve "foreigners" as all being rich. Taking precautions when traveling at night, securing your residence, and not letting your guard down, will all serve you well to a safe experience here.

The police here are trying to do their job, but are strained by budget, and manpower problems. In addition, there investigative techniques are quite different than those in western countries. Hence your best bet is to prevent a crime against your person, rather than rely upon the police.

During daytime hours ordinary precautions with regards to carrying bags, wearing expensive jewelry, and handling money are all that is needed. Use a secure ATM. Change your habits occasionally to avoid being stalked.

A greater danger comes after dark. Most crimes are committed under the cover of darkness. Avoid deserted streets, stay in the populated areas that are well lit. Watch that you are not being followed, especially if you are on a motor bike. Criminals often ride tandem on motorbikes cruising for victims. The back rider will carry a gun and point it at you to pull over.

There are certain areas of the city that are listed as higher risk than others. the area north of the Boulevard in Looc by the waterfront, and south of the boulevard in Tinago and Canday-ong are noted drug dealing zones and are frequented by undesirable elements. Again daytime hours present little risk anywhere in town, but be cautious at night.

Is Dumaguete Safe? Ultimately I believe it is as safe if not safer than some other areas of the Philippines, but one must always be aware, and diligent.


f said...

Your answer to the question 'is Dumaguete safe for foreigners?' seems to be a resounding 'not really' if you read between the lines of your response.

RHB said...

People generally do not like to talk about the negative things about a place in which they live and enjoy. Dumaguete has had a recent uptick in crime as has all of the Philippines due to rising inflation and the resultant increase in food and fuel costs. Several expats have recently been killed in Cebu. People just need to be aware of the risks when visiting a largely poor country. Crime tends to go up and down seasonally, as well as being influenced by economic factors. Better to be aware of the risks than go blithely along unaware. Thanks for your comment.