Travel Advice – Belize City, Gangs, Crime
No one wants to talk about crime and vacations in the same breath. My Belize City travel tips are pretty basic. Belize City gangs, crime, and the high volume of guns are real. No one wants to talk about it because it might impact tourism. Primarily, the gangs are fighting amongst themselves. Occasionally, an innocent victim is killed or shot. Remember it’s not a good idea to take photos of checkpoints and police officers, camera’s are taken if caught.
Travel Advice – More About Belize City, Gangs, Crime
The reason for the crime is on the front page of this news paper. The cost of living is high, and poverty persists outside of the tourist areas. Unless Belizian’s work in tourism, life is hard. The people in Belize and particularly, Belize City face drugs, crime, and poverty.
There is a silent creed. Don’t talk about the crime. Unspoken, no one wants to scare the tourists or contribute to a bad vacation experience. The police focus on keeping the tourists safe and petty crime away from them.
If venturing into the city neighborhoods, it’s best to go with a friend. Or as we did, we worked in groups within our small community. We always walked with two while we were there. Belize has many ‘outreach missions’ from every denomination and NGO’s (non-government organizations). Maybe because the language is English, missionaries come here. Maybe they come because of the high poverty rate, but lots of groups provide social services which are desperately needed.
Belize City Travel Tips – Tourism
The average visitor sees white sandy beaches and idyllic views. That is the way Belize wants to keep it. Tourists would never know there are gangs in the cities.
The police focus on tourist safety, while in the city’s random checkpoints are looking for guns and drugs.
When compared to what a tourist on experiences, to an average Belize person lives, there is a giant gap between the haves and the have-nots. It’s an impoverished country. But not poor in spirit. The Belizians are generous, grateful, and hospitable. In the short amount of time, I was there, they showed me how to live with gratitude.
Belize City Gangs and Crime
In this tropical paradise, gangs, crime, and drugs are a local problem. Local’s talk about it all the time. Now that Mexico has cracked down on importing drugs into the USA, Belize is one of the new distribution points and with that comes more problems. Belizians want to get rid of the crack and drugs. The Belizian’s deal with Drug running in their own way. Belize and America now faces the hard truth which is the US demand for drugs drives the crime.
I noticed and was told, that the Belize citizens take matters into their hands. They add wire fencing, locks, and barbed wire to protect their property. The citizens band together and form community groups and protect each other. Churches add some level of protection.
As I said, Police have check points, search cars, and homes. Residents feel this is more for show than actual crime prevention. I walked a vacation bible study child home, about two blocks. He was four and walks this route, by himself every day. On the day I walked him home, the police were in front of his home searching for something. There were four armed officers, with AK 47’s – out in plain sight, held high. No one could miss they were there, it sent a statement.
Life goes on in Belize, regardless of drugs and crime. People do their laundry, cook, and shop.
It doesn’t look like much, but this is a parking lot. It offers reserved parking. Reserved parking for the protection of a car or vehicle. I have no idea what they are specifically protecting against. But, it’s available in some neighborhoods.
Hopefully, this won’t stop travelers from going on a Belize vacation. But, its good to know that the tourism industry counts on foreign dollars for their economy. Thier priority is to do everything to protect the cruise ships, the cruise ship guests, and all tourists.
Escaping poverty when traveling isn’t always possible. Lots of travel destinations have high poverty. Another area with high poverty which I didn’t expect is Turkey. To learn more, you might want to read this post.
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