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Crime in Nicaragua

I personally know two foreigners who were "minding their own business" and were kidnapped by taxi, terrorized, beaten and robbed by ATM withdrawals, one of them to include his overdraft protection. They were Europeans. I know second hand of 6 more cases. One was beaten and raped, as well. All were dumped with nothing but the clothes they were wearing in dangerous neighborhoods. None of this occured in Managua, which we have come to think of as very dangerous, and where a tourist was beaten and robbed and left for dead in a traffic circle there.

The US State Department says that 26 Americans were kidnapped and robbed in this manner in the first 6 months of 2009. It's my guess that the number for the last half of the year is even higher. And in all the cases I know of personally, the victims were not Americans, so I think the number is significant.

I know of two home invasions as well.

Many foreigners who were "minding their own business", like shopping in Pali (supermarket) have had their money, passports and credit cards pickpocketed. I know several Nicaraguans who have also been robbed in this manner. And don't get me started on how many times I have been scammed and lied to in order to extact money from me.

I don't have much experience in Costa Rica to compare, so I don't have an opinion on it. But there is a lot of propaganda out there, mainly by people who want to sell real estate,in Nicaragua, that is misleading if not a downright lie.

Yes, come and see for yourself. Live here for a year before you invest your money. Come see how the streets are full of garbage, the electricity and water get shut off for a day, an hour or a few minutes very, very frequently. Come see how horribly noisy it is, with people shooting off mortars day and night and loud amplied music and commercial and public announcements. Come live next door to someone who decides to open a factory or a discotec next door to your house. There is no zoning in Nicaragua, so your neighbor can do anything he wants.

Overall, Nicaragua is probably safer than many US cities, but it is not some kind of Utopia and foreigners are targeted for their perceived affluence, mostly non-violently, but sometimes very violently. I think it will get worse due to the influx of guns from the drug trade, a worsening economy and the fact that more than half the population is under 20, an age group that commits the most crimes.

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