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Trip Report 4 warnings for the non-seasoned, naïve tourist about to go to St Martin.

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How many more people are going to keep going to St Martin utterly clueless about the 17% increase in Burglaries for 2012? Google CRIME IN ST MARTIN, and OMG its endless.

My belief is that allot of new naive tourist who are in the need-to-know here, do not get the need-to-know stuff due to census of forums as well as huge globs of pro-St Martin people that seem to saturate these forums with their lop-sided opinions about how everything is fine and dandy in St Martin. It`s just not the case and it`s unfortunate but St Martin is not the easy safe place it use to be decades ago.

In Nov 2012 just before leaving to St Martin, I looked up info on “another travel site I will not mention”. There, I searched to the forums only pertaining to safety and crime in St Martin and did not find anything much to set off alarms in my head about not even putting something in our trunk! Just some basic “as with everywhere, do not leave stuff in car”. Well In America, a car`s trunk is still safe 99.99% of the time. That is NOT the case in St Martin. I went there and my trunk was burglarized on our 3rd day of 12 days there on our glorious mission to blow $6000 of our hard earned money over 12 days. Thanks St Martin. The seasoned travelers know all the dangers and work around it wonderfully. But my wife and I were not seasoned. The other major Travel Forum I read through is guilty of censoring the very bad news because it was not fun & easy stuff to read about.

OK so I learned my lesson about a handful of things in St Martin. But I`m here to tell the others to take heed to my 4 tips on how not to get Burglarized on your vacation there.

Anyways:--My 4 tips on how NOT to be burglarized, for anyone who is interested:

You think you are smart by locking up valuable out of site, in the trunk. Forget about it. Trunk burglaries are huge huge huge and constant in St Martin. They pop it in a second flat. Leave nothing at all, not even a towel in sight or in the trunk. All reports are consistent that they do not dig through things and just take money and valuable. No, they take everything, socks, towels, medicines, tooth brush, food. If you leave your insulin and other life support medicines in the cars, you are going to put your life in the hands of a low-life thieve to conclude you. Leave the rental car unlocked and windows down. If possible park the car where you can watch it as you eat, so you can scream if the thieves start to take off your tires. If you are rich, rent a car with an alarm system. I do not suggest renting a nice car, or any car that looks like all the other rental cars (small white car). Rent the ugliest one they have that does not look like the majority of the other ones. Also, some rental companies have an ”R” on the license plate. If that’s the case, you are “MARKED” tourist and are more likely to be watched, followed, and robbed. If going to St Martin in particular, see if you can get a ride to rent your car from the French side as they do not use the ”R” on the license plate. Don`t stay in the French side as they have next to no Police force that actually deals with crime resolution but more or less just takes your report. The only good that possibly could come from spending 2 hours with the police, describing the whole ordeal after getting robbed, is so that maybe one day, someone will count the statistics and make a change. But that`s unlikely in St Martin because there are NO TAXES, which means almost NO FUNDS for police and crime prevention.

When going out for the day on whatever the excursion may be, leave EVERY POSSIBLE ITEM in your room safe except for the absolute minimum money you need to just get through the day. Just take one credit card max, and have its 1-800 number in your safe so you can have it shut down immediately if it’s lost or stolen. The second you get to your time-share or hotel, put all moneys, extra SD cards, documents, passports, and all jewelry plus wedding ring etc into the safe. Leave it there till the second you leave. As for Camera`s SD cards, have 3 or more. Split using them during the stay so if your camera is stolen, you will only lose 1/3 of your photos. Do not bring your fancy camera. Bring a small digital camera. Never bring your ipad anywhere. That is an in-the-safe item at all times unless you take it out for a bit when you are in the room only. An Ipad is an item with too much personal data, photos, letters, documents….It’s just too risky to roam a 3rd world with that.

Stay with the crowds. If you are in a 3rd world, then just stay at the resort primarily. All the islands have 3rd world crime and workers galore. Sometimes it’s the workers art your resort that will rob, rape, or kill you. Sometimes the workers will tell others about you as a mark. Do not adventure to a natures reserve or other locations where you could be robbed and killed and no one would see a thing.

Watch and familiar yourself with people, cars, scooters, in your surrounding as the person(s) who are potentially going to assault you, rob you. Look anyone who is close to you, watching you or not. Are they looking your way? --- are they checking you out? If so, you WATCH THEM back so they realize you are wondering about them. If you were a mark, maybe now they will take caution and look for other more unsuspecting. If you are walking with a camera or purse of back pack, you are a hot target for some kid on a bike, scooter, or car. Do you see a kid lingering on a cell; he may be calling his accomplice that you are an easy mark at “so & so” location. If someone looks suspicious, zoom in on them with your camera and take their photo as well. This also applies to taking a photo of a car that is near you during visit somewhere you might be a which is a bare looking area with little safety of having a crowd.

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