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Guatemala City



Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes, of course, and everybody develops their own comfort levels with security. Most violent crime is targeted and/or takes place in neighborhoods that a foreigner would never visit, but there are no truly safe areas and colleagues have been mugged or had their cars assaulted in broad daylight in the ritziest zones. A few very public (almost certainly targeted) murders have recently taken place on the streets in neighborhoods where many expats live and work. I personally walk alone during the day, walk around in groups at night, run outdoors with my headphones at certain times and in certain neighborhoods. I avoid driving outside of the city after dark and, aside from the well-timeD running routes, don't use electronics or pull out my wallet in public. I'm probably on the less cautious side of the spectrum but in general I don't feel that security concerns affect my day-to-day life, though I've accepted there are constant, unavoidable risks. - Jun 7, 2015
Yes--take precautions when walking or driving around the city. Armed robberies are not uncommon. Everyone has a story of something that has either happened to them or someone they know. While some crimes are completely random, I think you can minimize your risk by taking a few common sense precautions--don't talk on cell phones at intersections while driving, don't flash expensive jewelry or electronics, and make eye contact as you are out walking. - Apr 23, 2014
Yes. Crime is rampant in most areas of Guatemala City, and even the most affluent Zones are not completely exempt (such as Zones 10 and 14, where most embassies are located and where diplomats and other expats tend to live). Though most violent crimes are drug-related, robberies at gun-point can (and do) happen anywhere to anyone, cell-phones being a particularly desired booty. That said, one can dodge the risks by avoiding walking in the streets and places without private security. Driving across the country is generally safe although driving at night is to be avoided at all costs - not only due to the risk of theft (and worse), but also because a staggering amount of cars and buses circulate without tail lights (and that does not mean that they are any more cautious because of it). - Jan 3, 2014
Absolutely. Guatemala is currently ranked as the seventh most dangerous countries in the world with about 42 murders per week (source: The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development). The security situation has deteriorated with the rise of powerful drug cartels. With that said, one should still take advantage of all the cultural attractions that Guatemala has to offer. Just be careful, don't walk around with flashy clothes, lots of cash and/or a cell phone in view. Americans are not targeted, but may be in the wrong place at the wrong time. - Nov 7, 2011
Security is a big issue here but most crimes are targeted. It is best to refrain from using your cell phone or laptop in public to avoid problems, and always carry some cash with you (maybe $5) to give to someone who threatens you if you don't have something to give up. It is recommended to not carry things with you that you won't readily give up. - May 2, 2010
There are significant security concerns here. Although I have never personally had a problem, I know others who have been robbed at gunpoint. - Mar 11, 2008