Is crime a problem in Panama?

In most places, crime is not a problem in Panama. Most Panamanians are warm and welcoming and do not engage in violent acts. There are, however, a few areas of Panama where crime is an issue, mostly in impoverished urban areas with high unemployment rates. By exercising the right amount of caution and common sense, visitors to Panama should be fine.

Avoid the city of Colón, where crime and thefts are unfortunately common. It’s also best to avoid some of the poorest neighborhoods in Panama City, including El Chorrillo and Curundu, and be alert while visiting Casco Viejo.

Don’t bring valuable items into public; don’t leave them in locked cars while going for a hike or in a backpack while going for a swim. If your hotel room has an in-room safe, use it. Petty theft can occur, but if you’re smart and sensible you can easily avoid it.

It’s best to avoid walking alone at night and getting intoxicated with strangers. Also, leave your passport at your hotel when you go out and bring a copy instead.

Referenced in this FAQ

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