The US State Department has issued a travel advisory for Americans planning to visit the Dominican Republic, citing an increase in violent crime and sexual assaults. The advisory, classified as a yellow flag-level two, advises travelers to exercise increased caution while in the Caribbean nation.
The advisory highlights concerns regarding violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide, and sexual assault throughout the country. Factors contributing to the high level of criminality include the widespread availability of weapons, illicit drug use and trade, and a weak criminal justice system.
The State Department acknowledges that resort areas in the Dominican Republic tend to have better policing compared to urban areas like Santo Domingo. The implementation of a 911 emergency call system and a tourist police force has also improved safety in popular tourist destinations on the eastern side of the island.
While the neighboring country of Haiti faces severe living conditions and increased gang violence, resulting from political instability and corruption, the Dominican Republic shares the same threat level as other popular tourist destinations like France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, and the Bahamas.
As travelers consider visiting the Dominican Republic, the State Department advises being aware of their surroundings, avoiding displaying signs of wealth, and following local safety guidelines. Additionally, they caution against physically resisting robbery attempts.
The Ministry of Tourism in the Dominican Republic has not yet provided a comment regarding the travel advisory.