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## Is Panama City, Panama a Safe Place to Visit?

###### A Comprehensive Guide for Travelers

Panama City, the vibrant capital of Panama, is a popular tourist destination known for its impressive skyline, rich history, and diverse culture. However, like any major city, questions arise about its safety for visitors. This comprehensive guide will delve into the factors that contribute to Panama City’s safety, providing invaluable information for travelers planning a trip to this captivating metropolis.

### Safety Statistics and Crime Rates

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Panama’s overall crime rate has been declining in recent years. However, certain areas of Panama City, particularly those frequented by tourists, have higher crime rates than others.

**Top Crime Types in Panama City:**

* Petty theft (pickpocketing, purse snatching)
* Property crime (burglary, vehicle theft)
* Drug-related crimes

### Safe Areas to Visit in Panama City

Panama City has several safe neighborhoods that are popular with tourists. These include:

* **Casco Viejo:** The historic quarter, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is well-patrolled and generally safe for tourists.
* **Punta Paitilla:** A modern neighborhood with high-rise condominiums, shopping malls, and restaurants. It is known for its relative safety and proximity to the city center.
* **El Cangrejo:** A central neighborhood with a vibrant nightlife scene. While it can be crowded, it is generally considered safe for tourists.

### Areas to Avoid in Panama City

Certain areas of Panama City are best avoided by tourists, especially at night. These include:

* **El Chorrillo:** A densely populated area with high crime rates. It is not advisable for tourists to visit this neighborhood.
* **Santa Ana:** A neighborhood known for its drug trade. It should be avoided by tourists at all times.
* **CurundĂș:** A sprawling slum with high poverty rates. It is highly recommended to avoid this area.

### Safety Tips for Visitors

To ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Panama City, visitors should observe the following safety precautions:

* **Be aware of your surroundings:** Pay attention to who is around you and what is happening in your immediate vicinity.
* **Avoid walking alone at night:** If possible, travel with a group or take a taxi in unfamiliar areas.
* **Keep valuables secure:** Use a money belt or hidden pockets to protect your passport, wallet, and phone.
* **Do not carry large amounts of cash:** Use credit cards or traveler’s checks instead of carrying large sums of money.
* **Be cautious when using ATMs:** Check for signs of tampering before using an ATM. Avoid using ATMs in secluded areas or at night.
* **Avoid illegal activities:** Do not purchase or use drugs. Be aware that prostitution is illegal in Panama.

### Additional Safety Measures Taken by Panama City

In recent years, Panama City has implemented several measures to enhance its safety for tourists:

* **Increased police presence:** The city has increased its police presence in tourist areas, providing a visible deterrent to crime.
* **Surveillance cameras:** High-resolution surveillance cameras have been installed in strategic locations throughout the city, assisting in crime prevention.
* **Tourism police:** A specialized tourism police force has been created to provide assistance to tourists in need.

### Conclusion

While no city is completely crime-free, Panama City is generally a safe place to visit for tourists who observe the necessary precautions. By staying aware of safe and unsafe areas, exercising common sense, and taking appropriate safety measures, travelers can enjoy the city’s attractions while minimizing their risk of being a victim of crime.

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