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Crime and safety in Nicaragua?

Before I start id like to say this is not a swipe at the people of Nica but a question to weed through bull crap which I've seen and heard on both sides. I just want to know the truth. I want to know first if the reports are true about Nicaragua on not. One side ( travel sites, Real estate sites and a few people proud of their country) have said Nica is the safes countrys in all central America and than US govrn sites say other wides. They say that in the area we are looking to move to has had an up rise of home invasions. The say when attacked they demand that Americans return the property or die and this is in gated communities. So who do I believe? I though maybe hiring a security staff but really who's right in all this?

8 Answers

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  • John M
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Traveling to Nicaragua and around the region, I feel I can answer your question in a non-biased manner. You totally are right, you will find extremes for both sides, as you would for pretty much any tourist destination.

    Here are a few points to answer your questions:

    A. Crime in Nicaragua is extremely low. You can check out indexes like the Global Peace Index that measures crime and other elements like state spending on military. But if you look at the numbers, Nicaragua's crime rate is pretty low. The triangle of violence to the north which includes Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador has largely avoided Nicaragua. Nicaragua is also among one of the most active US-allied drug trafficking busters in the region. You can read an interesting article here:

    http://insightcrime.org/insight-latest-news/item/9...

    An important thing to note about the United States Department of State is that it always prepares you for the worst possible things. As an International Relations major, I couldn't help but notice that American officials tend to "hype up" international events. If one crime occurs, they word it in such a way that forces you to be cautious. But as long as you're on your guard, you'll be okay! Nicaragua is in fact, one of the safest countries in the Americas as per the Index.

    A note about the "home invasions." This has also been common in areas like Costa Rica, where expats buy houses and then rent them or leave them abandoned until they come back. That is the worst mistake any expat can make. The law is known as "Ley de Posession," which basically means that any person living in a residence that has been abandoned or unattended for months or years can own and live in the house, no matter if they bought it or stole it. At this point, I'm assuming I have confused you. So let me outline it in a clearer way with an example.

    You are from New York, and you're going on vacation to Nicaragua. You bought your home and you're all set!

    You go to Nicaragua to your home, you stay a year.

    You leave the house after a year and leave it alone, with doors and windows locked.

    You come back five months later to take a vacation.

    Pablo, a local, has moved into your house since you were gone.

    The house now belongs to Pablo because you left it as abandoned.

    Going around the law is extremely hard. You should not invest in property unless someone you trust or someone in your family actually lives there. If you live there, even better! Having a firearm isn't a bad investment, either. If you're actually moving there, you can gain significant benefits with the tourist law, which may (I can't remember, exactly) allow you to purchase a firearm in Nicaragua. You can also purchase one in the US, but you would need the permission of the Nicaraguan government prior to transporting the firearm.

    You should also exercise common street sense. Anywhere you go, you are a potential target. You should always be on your guard and blend in as best as you can. You should not flash jewelery or excessive amounts of cash. Invest in a safe or safebox that is fireproof and waterproof, so that you can protect your belongings in the worst possible scenario.

    If you're ever attacked or threatened in public, especially in Managua, it is wise if you walk towards a road frequented by cars. Stop traffic. Although you would never probably do this in the Untied States, it is an easy way to attract attention and make criminals run away faster. Sometimes police officers are a bit tardy in responding, so you do what you can.

    But overall, you should be fine. Feel free to ask for more if you still have questions!

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    The answerer above is correct in a sense. All countries have some level of crime. There are definitely parts of New York City I wouldn't want to be in at night. (and you'll notice that taxis up there have a bullet-proof window separating the driver seat and the back one. What does that tell you?) Some countries do indeed have more than others however. Nicaragua, in parts, is a bit unsafe, especially at night. If you really wanted to visit I would go though. It's not so unsafe that I wouldn't consider a trip there. I would just make sure to research what parts of the city are more dangerous than others and avoid those areas. Also, take any necessary common-sense precautions when out in that city. (i.e. don't have your money in a wallet in an outer pocket or other place where it can be pickpocketed easily, don't walk around alone at night, etc.) I will make one final note: many government websites (especially the consular sheets for each country) are going to inform you about crime, but they tend to be a little bit exaggerated. Don't get me wrong; some countries aren't safe to visit, (Iraq anyone?) but there are those that, despite what gov't websites will tell you, are relatively safe if you take the necessary precautions. Good luck with your trip!

  • Hondu
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Both are right/both are wrong. However, you should know that the US State Department sites always error on the side of safety to cover their own behinds. They can't afford to tell you an area is safe and then you get robbed or worse. Of course there is crime in Nicaragua, just as there is crime in any other country, including our own. And just as anywhere else, you learn to deal with or avoid it. You should read some of the doomsday warnings from the State Department, arm chair travelers, and media about Honduras. Yet that is where I have lived for nearly twenty years, travel about freely and have yet to have more than the occasional petty theft happen to me. And each of those times was my own fault for being careless and leaving things laying around. There are certain places in every country where the crime is higher, especially the urban areas, but I feel safer in all of these Central American countries than I ever did in some of our own "safe" cities.

    If you haven't already, you really should spend some time visiting the area you want to live before you make the final move. There are several more considerations to living in a foreign country than just crime and safety.

  • 1 decade ago

    We had lived in Nica for 2 yrs, in a very small coastal town.

    We got to know our neighbors, I went to school to improve

    my Spanish, we dealt with the local merchants, buying

    as much in town as possible, and now we are part of the

    community. This is what you would do, no matter where you

    were living. Unfortunately (because I do miss Nica) my

    husband got another international job, and we are now

    living in Singapore. Our guidador is living in our house,

    and looks after everything, including cooking for and

    looking after my dog. It has all been going fine, and there

    are other homes along our beach where locals do this.

    We are not in a gated community.

    I have lived on 4 continents, so I have a lot of international

    experience. There are many wonderful things about Nica,

    and as with anyplace, a few draw backs. BUt if you are

    willing to go with the flow, try to understand, and get

    laid back, you will enjoy yourself.

    BTW, make sure you go to El Tiscapa Restaurante.

    You will have the best full service meal you have ever

    had, for the most reasonable price. About a yr ago,

    7 of us went for a friend's birthday, and everything

    including 4 bottles of Chilean wine and the local

    rum, which is to die for, cost about 300USD.

    Source(s): my life
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  • 1 decade ago

    If there are rise in home invasion is probably in the city of Managua. I am from there but I haven't heard of or seen this kind of news. I have however seen invasion of property on locals and that is nothing new. Most Americans do live in more luxurious homes and many away from Managua in more peaceful towns like Granada, San Juan del Sur, Masaya highway, etc and you hear very little crime reported except for the local drunk killing another drunk with a machete this being usually in the country side. I do not recommned getting into a taxi as many of them have proven to be thieves who have assaulted men and women but again, all this is in the city of Managua. You just have to proceed with caution as anywhere else.

  • OC
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Hi there,

    it is a fact that Nicaragua is one of the safest countries in all of Latin America, except in the capital of Managua, which is not that safe. I spent 4 months in Nicaragua last year and had no problems with crime whatsoever. Very often I went home after midnight through dark streets and was never bothered by anyone.

    Also, U.S. Government sites are not always correct. Very often they report isolated cases with foreigners. In any case, Nicaragua is a lot safer than many parts of the U.S.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Nicaragua is the safest country in Latin América, read here (spanish): http://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:16...

  • 1 decade ago

    safe exept for big cities

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