Is Belize Really Safe For Expats?

“Kathleen, I am a new fan of your free Live and Invest Overseas newsletter. I checked out your recommendation for Belize and thought the Sanctuary Belize investment you’ve written about recently sounded like a potential interest to pursue. However, when I did online Investigating I ultimately discovered that Belize has the sixth-highest crime rate (murders and robberies) of any country in the world. How could anyone be reasonably confident of their safety in such a climate as Belize? It would seem that foreigners would be targeted, especially Americans, because we are considered wealthy by any standards. We are a lot more obvious in a country that has a population of only 340,000 people.

“Thanks ahead for your honest answer to this.”

–Janet A., United States

I’m not sure what statistics you’re looking at. I’ve seen many related to crime and safety in Belize. Mostly I ignore them. As I mostly ignore all statistics.

Statistics take things out of context and are difficult or impossible to compare or interpret reliably. So I usually don’t try.

Neither do I pay attention to U.S. State Department or other governmental agencies’ formal cautions or publicized warnings. These are issued broadly, again out of context, often with an agenda or a bias, and to cover the derrieres of those doing the issuing.

Finally, I pay even less attention to internet blogs and forums when it comes to things like crime and safety. Search around online, and you can find someone ferociously attacking most anywhere on earth as unsafe because of some unfortunate personal experience there. Expats sometimes get bored and spend maybe more time than is productive online over-communicating their personal (and you never know how broad) experience of a place.

The fact that this could be a reasonable way to describe what I do is not lost on me. I try to keep this in mind every day.

How, then, can you know if a place is safe?

You’ve got to go see it for yourself.

If somewhere has your attention, but you’re worried it may not be safe, because of what you’ve read on the internet or because of a warning issued by the State Department or because of some statistic you’ve stumbled upon, the only way to find out one way or the other, for sure, for you, is to get on a plane. Go see what you see, have the experience you have, and make your own determination.

Here’s my determination regarding Belize, based on 27 years of personal experience in this country:

Belize City is a pit. Some neighborhoods, in the south of the city, are unsafe, thanks to drug and gang activity. Don’t buy a house in these neighborhoods. Don’t open a business in these neighborhoods. Don’t wander around these neighborhoods, drunk, late at night, wearing expensive jewelry. You’ll have a bad experience.

Belize outside Belize City is one of the safest places in the world. Safe, free, welcoming, friendly, hospitable, beautiful, and more.

You should go see for yourself. Have fun.

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