6 Most Dangerous Cities in the Dominican Republic

Updated On October 10, 2023
Dominican Republic

Known for its gorgeous Caribbean beaches and caliente climate, the Dominican Republic is one of the most popular destinations for vacationers, tourists, and travelers in the Caribbean.

With a relatively low cost, the Dominican Republic could be a tempting choice for your next vacation.

While the cost of a vacation in the DR might be lower than average, the crime rate is higher.

The crime index in this nation is about 60.88.

In this article, we’ll explore the most dangerous cities in the Dominican Republic so you can plan your trip accordingly.

Most Dangerous Cities in the Dominican Republic

Boca Chica
Boca Chica

Boca Chica

In Boca Chica, it’s worth noting that the crime level has risen to 61.57 as a crime index.

While this may be considered lower than some high-crime cities globally, it is a high number for the Dominican Republic.

With crime on the rise, 80% of surveyed citizens on numbeo.com shared that they experienced that increase in crime over the past three years.

Out of all of the participants, 65% expressed concerns that their home would suffer a break-in or their possessions would be taken by thieves.

Additionally, 62.5% feared muggings and robbery.

Overall, these high percentages of participants who experienced these issues demonstrate that Boca Chica is not one of the safest cities in the DR.

Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo

As the capital city, it makes sense that Santo Domingo has a higher level of crime than the average Dominican Republic city.

After all, this city does tend to attract tourists from around the world who want to experience the best that the DR has to offer on vacation or other travels.

The crime index for this city is noted as 80.33 on numbeo.com.

This can be interpreted as a “very high” crime rate.

Over the past few years, over 75% of participants in a survey on the same website said that they noticed an uptick in criminal activity.

Common fears of local residents and transient travelers include break-ins, stealing, muggings, and robbery.

Generally, while going through Santo Domingo, you should stay aware of your surroundings and steer clear of any possible criminal activities.

In Santo Domingo, locals on DR1.com noted that there are certain neighborhoods in the region that are less safe than others.

For example, Villa Agricolas is notorious for “El Mercado Nuevo” or “The New Market” where members of international organized crime groups battle for territory.

In Cristo Rey, the low income and low opportunity in the area create an environment where crime and violence rise beyond the city’s norm.

In Gualey, black markets and hit men threaten the safety of the area.

Los Guandules is highly populated with undesirable conditions.

This is a recipe for high crime and low satisfaction among residents. 

If you want to avoid the neighborhood in the Dominican Republic that is most infamous for its violence, you should stay away from Las Cienagas.

Out of every 10 deaths, 6 in the neighborhood directly or indirectly result from brutal assaults and violence.

Some locals allege that corruption among officials here is high, which increases the level of danger.

Keeping tabs on local news before coming to the area can help you decide which part of Santo Domingo may be relatively safe to visit.



The general crime rate in Azua in the DR is relatively high at 64% of all residents interviewed in an article on numbeo.com.

Compared to other cities, the property crime rate in Azua is higher than average at 72%.

Outside of property crime, highly rated types of crime in this area include aggravated violent acts, assault, and robbery with a firearm.

Additionally, local inhabitants note that drug-related crimes tend to be high in this region.

Overall, it is not the safest place in the Dominican Republic.

If you don’t need to go to this area, you may want to consider one of the areas with a lower crime rate instead such as Punta Cana.



In the city of Sosua, visitors should note that the crime level is high.

In a survey from numbeo.com, the crime index for this region was rated at 60.69%.

Over the past three years, 

65.90 % of participating residents noted that they perceived an uptick in crimes.

The majority of surveyed locals agreed that they feared that thieves would break into their houses and take their belongings.

As a whole, residents in this area have doubts about the safety of it.

This should give any foreign traveler or individual visiting the region pause.

Puerto Plata
Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata

In Puerto Plata, inhabitants who were surveyed by numbeo.com expressed concerns about several different types of crime affecting the area.

One of the most commonly reported issues was bribery and corruption among officials.

This kind of problem creates distrust between citizens and the authorities. 

What’s more, it erodes any sense of safety.

While this is based on local opinion, it still does hold weight when you are deciding whether to visit this city.

Another issue in the region is violent crimes.

These include assault and armed robbery, which have a reported rate of 63.46%.

For the most part, the crime level in this region is moderate.

Participants in the survey rated it to be 57.69%.

Still, crime is on the rise there.

Most residents agree that crime is on the rise in Puerto Plata.

This is why it is best to plan your trip with self-protection and safety in mind.

Punta Cana
Punta Cana

Punta Cana

In the popular beach of Punta Cana, residents report a crime level of 52.18.

While this isn’t as high as other cities in the country, it is moderately high.

Over the past three years, 66.6% of survey participants on numbeo.com have noticed more crime than usual.

They have also expressed fears about break-ins, robbery, theft, and muggings.

For this reason, visitors should keep their eyes peeled for potential safety risks while visiting and practice basic travel safety.

5 Safety Tips for Traveling to the Dominican Republic 

  1. Only take taxis that list the company name with appropriate signage on the roof. Unlicensed taxis present a safety risk to travelers and locals, so it’s important to only take licensed taxis to avoid becoming a victim of a crime.
  2. Keep your flashy jewelry at home or hide it while you are walking through the streets of the DR. Expensive jewelry might look cool, but it will also signal to thieves that you may be their next best target.
  3. Restrict phone usage indoors. Instead of taking it out while you are walking through the streets, duck into a cafe or other indoor space to use it for safety purposes.
  4. Stay away from La Duarte, a bustling street in Santo Domingo. This street is known for being busy and chaotic. Chances of muggings and similar crimes increase thanks to this environment.
  5. If you have to leave your possessions on the beach, have a traveling buddy watch them or find a way to take them with you. Otherwise, you risk theft and damage.

Dominican Republic Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Dominican Republic Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are solo female travelers safe in the Dominican Republic?

In the DR, solo female travelers are mostly as safe as their male counterparts.

Practicing safety tips such as walking in groups at night and avoiding back alleys can be helpful.

Additionally, female travelers should note hot spots for sexual assault such as Punta Cana at night.

What types of vehicles do thieves usually ride in the DR?

Although thieves could be on foot, bikes, or other vehicles, they tend to ride motorbikes or similar vehicles.

This is especially true if they intend to snatch a purse quickly.

If you see a thief approaching you on a motorbike, it’s best to move out of the way if you can.

If that is not possible, it’s best to comply if they seem combative or otherwise aggressive.

How can you avoid being a target for thieves in the DR?

Although you can’t completely prevent crime, you can take steps to minimize the chances.

For most travelers, the biggest concern they have in terms of crime is theft.

To be less of a viable target for this crime, you should keep valuable items like gold jewelry, laptops, and fancy cameras hidden or at the hotel.

What should I do if a thief or mugger confronts me in the Dominican Republic?

The best practice for handling confrontational thieves in the DR is giving them what they ask for.

If they want your purse, let it go.

If they have their eyes set on a piece of jewelry and they are getting aggressive, it’s also best to allow them to take this.

After all, you don’t know what a criminal is capable of doing if they approach you.

Especially in cases where their demeanor is demanding and confrontational, you should be willing to let your items go.

You can replace anything on your person, but you can’t predict how a desperate or unwell thief may react to setting boundaries.

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