Calling Caguits and srfl
This is a discussion on Travel advice for Puerto Rico. within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I might be going to PR later this year, I haven't been there before. This trip is a work conference that my wife is attending ...
I might be going to PR later this year, I haven't been there before. This trip is a work conference that my wife is attending with a few days added on for us to play with.
I have been to a LOT of countries previous to this so I am not looking for basic travel advice, previously I have been to 30+ countries many of which were third world nations in Asia or the Middle East.
But I keep hearing that there is a crime wave in PR, so forewarned is forearmed and I'm looking for inside information.
Any tips on staying safe in PR?
Areas to avoid?
What are the most common crimes against tourists presently?
I'm guessing it's no worse than anywhere else I've been but it would be nice to know if I was stepping into a gang war zone or whatever.
Calling Caguits and srfl
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.
If you are a LEO, then you can carry - ask srfl. If you are not, it is my understanding that you can neither carry openly nor concealed. However, I believe the PR Code allows you (if you make a request to the Police Superintendent in advance) to bring some firearms to practice "marksmanship" and to participate in some tournaments, but I've never done that.If I'm not mistaken, there is also a special permit to hunt. I could find out more about those subjects if you so desired.
What months will you be traveling through the Island and to what areas? (metro/southern/western/etc)
Basically don't go hang out to local bars at night, stay at the hotels, public housing proyects and don't look at someone the wrong way (tourists mostly walk around in flip flops with cameras, so that tends to be a non issue; however since you have the carry mindset, being aware of your suroundings may be mistaken as looking at someone the wrong way).
I'll give the public relations people over at the State Police a call to find out how they are hitting the tourists - that info is seldom discussed in the media.
Visit these websites, they have some good info and may help you plan your visit:
Last edited by cagueits; February 17th, 2007 at 11:03 PM. Reason: Add hunt info
Thanks, I will go through the links and await anything else you can find out.
I'm not sure where or when yet, probably May and definitely a high end hotel as my wife has a good position in a pharmaceutical company.
I don't think I'll be taking any weapons, am I allowed to carry a knife in PR?
As long as during the night time you stick to the hotels and casinos you are good and believe me they don't mess with the tourist. I don't know were you heard about the crime wave there its like any other place if you are going to Old san juan area there is a hard rock cafe a sr frog the wall and many other pubs and you will notice the police there. do you know what part of the island you are going??
try to go to el yunke(rain fores).let me know I was born and raise there.
It depends were you will go but you will enjoy it and be care full with the Rum..it will get you!
There is not much to add beyond what my esteemed fellow Boricuas have stated.
The vast majority of the increases in crime are due to on-going gang wars for control of the drug trade. Crimes against non-gang members are due to users needing cash to fund their habits.
Yes, knives are permitted. Not sure about OC, CS, CN, and/or batons.
There are no provisions for private citizens to carry firearms unless you possess a very difficult to obtain CCW permit.....can take months if not a year to obtain. Heck, it took me seven months to get a target (shooting) permit, a year and a several months (!!!!!) to get a possession permit (required if one attempts to get a CCW permit) and then several additional months (each) to have the pistol licensing bureau of the PRPD to add three guns to my permits.
A bit of additional advice, if you plan on driving, be prepared for extremely bad drivers....and I do mean bad ones. Further, be very aware of your surroundings while driving in San Juan, Santurce, Caguas, Bayamon, or several of the southern/western towns like Ponce, Mayaguez, Arecibo, etc. Two guys I knew were killed in nighttime car jackings. It got so bad that PR has in their traffic law a provision to allow drivers to treat red lights like STOP signs.
Once you observe basic personal security, particularly at night, you should be ok. Have fun!
...so, where are you going in PR?
USAF: Loving Our Obscene Amenities Since 1947
Not sure where or when, but thanks for the advice.
I drove in India. I'm sure PR will be less chaotic than that, if we even drive there. I'm only going for a short time so a car might maximize that but on the other hand I might want to just drink the rum. Let's see how it compares to the Nicaraguan stuff we had a few years back.
All good advice, thanks.
Like srfl said, there is a constant escalation of violence due to a shift of power in the druglord's jurisdictions.
Carjackings are what I think would be the worst case scenario in your case - if you are driving in unfamiliar areas. If you come down and will go experience the night life, try to stay in the tourist zone (old san juan, isla verde, piñones) and take a cab rather than drive (there is little to no parking space available anyways + there is heavy DUI enforcement checkpoints on the weekends / municipal police in most corners - neverminding the hour long gridlocks, car to car shootings, etc).
There is also a rise on ATM related kidnappings/abductions. Do not use ATMs at night period! Most if not all stores take visa/mc/amex/ATH (local debit card).
OC is good to go, you can purchase it at any local gun store / security gadget stand in most big malls (Plaza las Americas, Carolina, del Sol, etc).
28 LPRA Sec 458 (d) & (e) deal with knives. It is very vague; basically it says you can carry it, but not brandishit without justification and/or in relation to an art/craft. I carry a 4" knife on my pocket, stay around a 3" to 4" blade and you should be ok.
Driving - driving is the same as in CONUS; the only bad part is that the PR Driving Law is more of a sugestion to the driver instead of an enforcement tool for the LEO. Get insurance if you will drive a rental car, some credit cards offer it for free - it tends to be expensive down here. Be prepared to get carjacked at any intersection of any part of the island (specially in upscales luxury rental cars or high demand vehicles for parts - honda civic, mitsubishi mirage, suzuki aerio, etc). Also, there are panhandlers in most intersections of the island, the vast mayority are HIV/HEP positive, some are violente while under the influence - there is this particular adict that gets high and will run against trafic in main trafic arteries in or around the University of Puerto Rico close to noon, mondays to fridays (so if you want to watch the show you could include it on your must see atractions of the Island).
Also, Fire/EMS down here is outdated. Response times are well into the 10minutes+ on non traffic hours/night time. Police response for emergencies is in the 5min+; traffic accidents and other stuff in the 45min+. Be advised about local LE, a high number of them are corrupt in some form or fashion. If you can, have a $20 bill with you at all times and writte down the serial number in advance (keep it with you inside your wallet); if you are given the "how can we solve this problem" and/or you get mugged while the LEO is on duty with full uniform and in the open (it happened to a tourist or a merchant a few months ago - corrupt LEOs were admin sep, found guilty and sentenced ), let him take the money on his own then go report it to the police HQ (not the precint).
Do go take the Bacardi factory tour!
The whole thing has been move to Miami.
So, assuming the same constants; good hotel etc, and factoring in the reciprocity of our TN permits, I now assume that there isn't too much to worry about.
Anybody want to share any local knowledge on Miami for the visitor?
If you are going to the city proper...IMHO, the advice is pretty much the same as PR....BE CAREFUL(!) at night.
Good thing is that you can carry with TN reciprocity with FL.
USAF: Loving Our Obscene Amenities Since 1947
I don't know if you came over or not, but if you still have time and money to try this: (posted by me in opencarry.com)
Under Puerto Rico law there is no reciprocity for out of state citizens to posses/carry firearms - even if that citizen holds a fireams license/permit from a jurisdiction other than Puerto Rico.
However, any US citizen can apply for a Puerto Rico firearms license, regardless of the citizen's state of residence - 25 LPRA 456a (I doubt that anyone has done this before, as doing it would be an extremely tedious process, but theoretically it can be done). This license will allow you to posses up to two firearms in your domicile (where you plan to spend the night) and up to 50 rounds per firearm. You are not limited to the number of firearms you can posses in your domicile with a shooting permit - 25 LPRA 457c. A temporary shooting permit is also available - 25 LPRA 457d (an example of the petition for the permit can be viewed here).
Upon obaining a Puerto Rico firearms license, that citizen can petition a Puerto Rico court for a permit to carry firearms in a concealed manner on any jurisdiction of Puerto Rico - 25 LPRA 456d. The thing is that you need to prove to the court that you fear for your safety while you are in Puerto Rico. Heres where you'll have to get creative when you articulate your need for a firearm while you stay in Puerto Rico - an example could be that you fear for your safety should you be selected by a criminal for a carjacking, an ATM robbery, etc.
Disclaimer, I'm not an attorney, just reading off the statutes.
Hope it helps.
Link to Michie's Legal Resources for Puerto Rico - Puerto Rico Arms Act of 2000.
Link to post in opencarry.com:
If there is a crime wave there (Puerto Rico) then it is probably the same "wave" that was washing over the island when I was TDY there in the early 90's. I was only there for 4 months and in that time we were restricted to the base 3 times due to robberies and stabbings of Navy personnel by the locals. One of the stabbings happened with in sight of the main gate.
I really did not enjoy my time there and was very happy when my TDY tour came to an end and I was flying back to the station.
I'm glad for you both that it got moved to Miami but there is a whole list of things there to look out for. Only been there once but have a friend who lives in that area. Carry your gun and come back to the great state of TN as soon as you can.
The police in Miami are less corrupt.
Also try not to look like a tourist, the BG apparently target them over the FL residents.