Personal security Panama is one of the safest countries in Central America
Consequently, in most of its urban and populated cities there is an air of security and tranquility.
In Panama it is possible to walk quietly through the streets, walk at night, use public transport, wear clothes and even have a luxury car, without implying an imminent security risk. Of course, there are always risks in certain parts of the city and the minimum protection measures that must be respected in any country in Latin America must not be neglected.
There are analysts who affirm the increase of specific crimes, such as the presence of gangs in several areas of Panama City. Likewise, other manifestations of violence are evident, such as domestic and gender abuse. New forms of theft, such as electronic crimes (cloning of credit cards), have also increased and, for some, the phenomenon is related to illegal immigration. When arriving in Panama for the first time, a fundamental recommendation is to avoid the most dangerous places. In the city of Panama, it is the well-known San Miguelito. While, on a national scale, are the city of Colón and the regions of the province of Darién, bordering Colombia, where conflicts have developed with guerrillas and narco-paramilitaries.
Some simple tips on personal safety that should be taken into account are:
- Carry small amounts of cash and use electronic transfer services to buy or withdraw money with a bank card
- Have a watchful attitude when using an ATM: prevent others from seeing the personal identification number (PIN) and save the money quickly
- Use the credit card in secure businesses. Strictly control the transactions made, to immediately detect any irregularity (card cloning)
- Take the handbag or briefcase tightly closed to prevent the action of pickpockets
- Refrain from walking alone at night. It is better to go as a group or simply prefer the busy streets. At least until you are familiar with the residence neighborhood
- Transporting strangers in the car is a disadvised practice. These favors should not be offered or accepted by strangers
- When walking on public roads, avoid the use of hearing aids that can isolate the person from what is happening around them
- Always cross the street at the pedestrian crossing. Avoid skipping the basic rules of good pedestrian traffic, since in Panama drivers do not yield easily
- Be prudent when doing outdoor excursions. Certain tourist demarcations, specifically beaches, are indigenous regions that are governed by their own laws for the maintenance of public order. In this regard, any behavior that alters the tranquility or offends the local indigenous authorities should be avoided
- Learn well before visiting sparsely populated areas, and, during the first days of permanence, organized excursions and group trips may be advisable