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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Crime

Military takes to the streets in fight against crime in Dominican Republic

More than 1,400 Dominican military soldiers are patrolling streets alongside police officers after a wave of robberies and assaults that has left the country searching for answers to a rising crime rate.

President Danilo Medina, who took office in August and promised to improve security, last month ordered the military to join the national police in patrolling busy streets and high-crime areas. But the deployment has sparked a debate over what role the military should play and the effectiveness of the country’s massive police force.

“The armed forces is acting in coordination with the national police as part of a larger citizen safety plan as ordered by the president,” said Diego Pesqueira, a police spokesman.

Police said the combined patrols have led to a near immediate drop in street crime just one week after the military was deployed, although Pesqueira said specifics were not available.

Street crime and a rising murder rates have become the No. 1 concern for residents, according to polls.

In the past 20 years, the murder rate has nearly doubled to 25 homicides per 100,000 residents, a rate more than five times higher that of the United States. Robberies and thefts have also increased.

In recent months, motorcycle-riding thieves, working in tandem, have carried out brazen armed attacks at busy intersections, robbing drivers and passengers of the ubiquitous private shared taxis. The crimes prompted the U.S. Embassy to warn citizens and visitors to “exercise extreme caution.”

Citizens and elected officials have called for any means necessary, including using the armed forces, to improve safety.

As a result, camouflaged soldiers, wielding machine guns, are walking the sidewalks of residential neighborhoods, standing by at busy intersections and stationed at a makeshift camp in the middle of a popular public park.

“I’m in favor of having the soldiers here because the criminality is reaching a point where something needs to be done,” said Máximo Jiménez Mella, 47, who added that two family members have been mugged in the past year. “Obviously, the police alone are not enough.”

For the full story click here:
http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/16/v-fullstory/3454853/military-takes-to-the-streets.html

And below is an email from the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo:

Recent press reports and police statistics indicate a rise in armed robberies in various traffic intersections within the National District. These crimes generally take the form of two individuals on a motorcycle approaching stopped cars in busy intersections and robbing the occupants at gunpoint. Press reports also enumerate the intersections within the national district with the highest number of reported cases. All U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution while traveling through the following intersections:
-          John F. Kennedy & Abraham Lincoln
-          John F. Kennedy & Máximo Gómez
-          John F. Kennedy & Ortega y Gasset
-          Ortega y Gasset & San Martín
-          Ortega y Gasset & Paraguay (entrance to Plaza de la Salud)
-          27 de Febrero & Churchill
Press reports also state a rise in these same types of crimes on the west side of the district, as follows:
Avenida Luperón in front of various business establishments, including El Canal, Jumbo, Happyland and La Sirena.
The U.S. Embassy reminds all U.S. citizens residing in the Dominican Republic to lock their vehicle doors and windows to avoid becoming targets of opportunity by showing extreme affluence (excessive jewelry, careless use of expensive electronics, etc.) and to secure personal items in the cargo compartments of your vehicles, away from public view. It is imperative to understand that criminals will resort to violence if challenged. Therefore, in the event of a robbery, no one should resist. Please refer to the link below for the press report.
http://www.eldia.com.do/nacionales/2013/5/27/115203/Los-atracos-express-una-nueva-forma-utilizada-por-delincuentes

The U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo would like to remind all U.S. citizens to remain aware of your surroundings at all time, maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.


We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in the Dominican Republic enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://step.state.gov/step.  STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you don't have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department's website at http://travel.state.gov, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for the Dominican Republic at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_4965.html. For additional information, refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad" on the State Department's website.

Contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter at https://mobile.twitter.com/travelgov and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/travelgov, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smart-%20traveler/id442693988?mt=8 to have travel information at your fingertips.

For any emergencies involving U.S. Citizens in the Dominican Republic, please contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of the U.S. Embassy.  The Consular Section is located at the corner of Cesar Nicolas Penson Street and Maximo Gomez Avenue, Santo Domingo, D.R.; telephone 809-221-2171; e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  For more information, visit our web page http://santodomingo.usembassy.gov.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/16/v-fullstory/3454853/military-takes-to-the-streets.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/16/v-fullstory/3454853/military-takes-to-the-streets.html#storylink=cpy
Tags: Police

11 Comments:

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written by JC on June 18, 2013

Anthony, thanks for posting this important article. You are the surrogate mother and father to most of us traveling to DR, and as such, your concern for "safety" and the "unprovoked" circumstances that have severe and damaging circumstances for your "Bloggers" is consistent. I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR NOTIFICATION WARNINGS - ALTHOUGH THINGS ARE ALARMING ENOUGH TO MAKE ONE CONTEMPLATE DISCARDING THEIR PASSPORT! I sincerely hope this latest crime wave is sort lived...
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written by Diandra on June 18, 2013

WOW! Is Santo Domingo turning into a police state? Sounds like Colombia... Although I am not there, the stats makes it sound really bad. But from reading the article and also reading things online, I gather that it must be pretty bad if they have to call out the military. My hopes are that you are safe, and that no harm comes to tourists (or natives). But those intersections mentioned, aren't those en route to the fancier parts of town? It all sounds a bit scary, be safe.
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written by anon on June 19, 2013

One of the problems is that some of the police as much criminals as the criminals. ROBBERS!
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written by Anthony/Monaga on June 19, 2013

I wrote about this, not to be alarmist. But to talk about some of the things that are going on here. Crime, to a certain extent, has always been a problem. The difference now is it really is affecting people that live in the more exclusive areas much more frequently. Along with many high-profile people who have been victimized, the government has sent the military to patrol the streets. The colonial zone is still pretty safe. There is some type of officer on nearly every corner. They have constant partrols at night. The problem is the economy and unemployment are very bad. The difference between the haves and have nots, is vast. And you have an untrained, and severely underpaid police force. Many who are barely literate. I am not afraid to go out at all, but I am aware of my surroundings. And when visiting and vacationing, you should also be aware. Still come, just be aware.
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written by Anthony/Monaga on June 19, 2013

I am getting emails and phone calls asking if people should be afraid about visiting. Or should they cancel their vacations. I just posted what is readily available on the internet. I think you should be cautious, just as you would anyplace you visit. But I am not trying to suggest you should not come. People are coming to the colonial zone everyday, and are fine. The military is not in the colonial zone, but in other parts of the city. The colonial zone is patrolled by the tourist police. Yes, come and visit, have a great time. Just be careful.
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written by J on June 19, 2013

I read the other day that the police chief makes $21000 dollars a year and a food bonus of $87 dollars a year. He is in charge of 33500 people. Police salaries start at about $1750 dollars per year with a small food bonus.
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written by JC on June 20, 2013

I still believe that the "pluses" far out weigh the "minuses" in SD - I think most bloggers' should know what I mean!...
I think we just need to ad an extra dose of caution - but I would not stop going. I LOVE THE PLUSES TOO MUCH! LOL
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written by anon on June 21, 2013

Most of us live in major US cities. We all know to be careful and we know areas to avoid especially late at night. I hope we don't make this a Dominican problem. It is an urban problem made worse by poverty and unemployment.
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written by a guest on June 21, 2013

I was just there visiting SDQ for a week and I heard there is a real problem even during the day with thiefs, My word or suggestion is to play it safe and always be on your guard, keep your wallets out of site and the money your going to use with in easy reach in your front pocket or in a small change bag, of sorts, never pull out any wod of money any place where you are,,because there is always someone watching, again use good safety measure at all times , walk in groups if at all possible and never go out alone at night , be in groups or if ur staying at a hotel and know others are going out, ask them if u can join the group or tag along.U can enjoy your self however keep both eyes open at all times and stay on guard.This applies to any big city you visit or for that matter any country, crime is on the rise every where , not just In Santo Domingo even here in the cities in the U.S Use good comon sense and judgement at all times.Now after saying all this, enjoy your holiday and vacation in SDQ It's a great place to visit .
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written by Brent on June 22, 2013

Praise President Danilo Medina for deploy tons of soldiers to patrol around the streets and businesses for Tourists and Citizens.
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written by anon on June 23, 2013

Maybe the soldiers will not shake not tourists for bribes like the police do.
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POSTED BY MONAGA AT 04:29 PM

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About Me

Monaga

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Former New Yorker (Harlem!) living in Santo Domingo since January 2004. The person I was when I arrived is a totally different person today. I still love living in the D.R. Even with all its obvious contradictions. This blog is where I write about things I find interesting with the gay community, news, gossip, culture, and of course, men. Strictly from my point-of-view.


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