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Crime and Safety

Belize - Crime and Safety

Crime is not thought to be a major problem in Belize. The inhabitants of the country are known to be very tolerant of newcomers from other countries, so problems such as racism are almost non-existent. The main crime issue which may affect expats is petty crime such as pickpocketing. There are a number of measures which are advised to avoid falling victim to this including keeping purses and wallets out of sight and in fastened pockets or bags and avoid being out alone, particularly at night. It is also advisable to take care when visiting tourist attractions, as pickpockets will target foreigners in these areas as they assume they will have more money with them.

Belize has introduced the Tourism police, who patrol areas frequented by tourists to help to keep down instances of petty crime. This is a measure which has worked well so far. The tourism police can be contacted on 02/72222 ext 401, although an emergency number for the police is 90.

Some people may also be intimidated by the young locals calling out to them in the street. The vast majority of these are not intended to frighten people. They are usually just trying to strike up a conversation and most are friendly. However, if in doubt then it is best avoided.

There have also been instances of more serious crimes, although these are rare. Armed robberies, shootings, rape and murder all take place, though with less frequency than they do in other countries. It is also advisable to take care when in less populated areas, or if you are in the vicinity of the Guatemalan border. If out alone at night it is advisable to use a taxi rather than the bus, due to the remote location of the bus stations.

There are strong measures being taken in the country to combat the problem of drugs. The location of Belize means that it is on a direct line between North and South America and as a result narcotics are widely available. You will find that you are frequently offered drugs in the street but all drugs are illegal in Belize and the police will arrest and jail anybody caught in possession. Homosexuality is also illegal in Belize and foreign visitors are advised to be extremely careful and discreet if they are gay.

The justice system is similar to that in the UK, a legacy of British rule for so long, with several types of court for different types of hearings. Should you require legal advice while you are in the country the British embassy should be able to give you details of several lawyers.

Read more about this country

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