St. Maarten at your own peril

Aug 24th, 2006, 08:18 PM
  #1  
H_X
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St. Maarten at your own peril

Hi, I just returned from St. Maarten. I stayed at the Delfina Hotel (mentioned here on www.fodors.com). Last Thursday (August 17) I went to Marigot and I also watched planes at the Sunset Beach Bar. That evening I took a bus from Philipsburg and got off at the Atlantis Casino, about a 10-minute walk from the Delfina. It was about 7 PM and dark. I was walking on the road adjacent to the casino parking lot when I felt my shoulder bag being grabbed from behind. I turned around to see two men, one of whom appeared to have a knife. I decided it was best to give them the bag. The two men went into a car and drove off, turning right onto the main road in front of the casino, as if they were heading toward the French side. Fortunately I was not physically injured, nor did I lose my passport nor any money. Among other things I lost all of my vacation pictures. I was too stunned by what was happening to get the license plate number. I asked the casino staff to call the police, and I was interviewed by a detective, but I haven't heard back yet and I am not optimistic about recovering my bag and its contents. Needless to say, I was quite shaken up by the incident and couldn't sleep that night. The next day I left two hours earlier than I had planned to, since I had no desire to explore any more of St. Maarten. As a result of this incident, I now believe that St. Maarten is *not* safe for visitors. (I haven't had problems in supposedly "unsafe" places like Philadelphia, Detroit, and New Orleans.) I don't know if French St. Martin is any safer.
H_X is offline  
Aug 24th, 2006, 08:48 PM
  #2  
 
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odd that this is the first time post.

crime can happen anywhere, and just because you experienced crime in st. maarten does not mean that the island as a whole is "unsafe" for visitors.
mah1980 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2006, 04:29 AM
  #3  
 
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I used to always be told, "Oh, it wasn't a Sint Maartener who robbed you, it was an illegal." As if that makes any difference.
Carrybean is offline  
Aug 25th, 2006, 08:08 AM
  #4  
 
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St. Maarten has had an increase in crime in recent years and you only have to read the local newspaper to see it. However, it hasn't stopped me from visiting. I'm just more careful than I was years ago.

I will admit that you will not catch me walking in St. Maarten after dark, unless it's just a short, well lit and traveled distance to/from my hotel. I also keep my car doors locked at all times, both day and night, even if my window is down a bit. I try not to traverse around the island after 9 p.m. and prefer to stay in the vicinity of my hotel during the late hours.

I'm really sorry to hear that this happened to you, H_X, and I'm sure it must have been really frightening. I know I would have been quite haken up myself just as I would have if the same incident happened anywhere in the world.

I will say that I have read instances in the past year or so where people have had purses or bags taken from them on the main road in that area by thugs on scooters and such. That is one reason why if I am walking even short distances I carry my bag/purse on my opposite side from the traffic.

I honestly think overall that St. Maarten is still a safe island to visit, as long as one is aware of their surroundings and doesn't do anything that might put them at risk. I look at it as having the same dangers as any other major city and just because one doesn't experience crime in those cities, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. One has to just be careful and not think that just because one is in the Caribbean there is nothing to worry about.

I hope you get some answers from the police H_X, but considering you are no longer on the island I doubt you will hear anything. Again, I'm sorry to hear this happened to you, but thank goodness it wasn't more seroius and you didn't lose more important, valuable items, not to mention being hurt.
Statia is offline  
Aug 25th, 2006, 11:15 AM
  #5  
 
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gee, I didn't realise it was that bad in St. Maarten, Statia. I always think of the Eastern Caribbean (minus Barbados and Trinidad) as the safest most crime free places in the world!

Always wished I lived there instead of here! I know Jamaica's crime problem is political, economic(lack of jobs) and drug related .

What's the reason for the escalatin of crime in places like St. Maarten and Bermuda?

...perilous times shall come...

indeed.
JAGIRL is offline  
Aug 25th, 2006, 11:49 AM
  #6  
 
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yes, it's true.. SXM has had an increase eof crime.
It's mostly due to drugs I think.
and we do not have enough police to deal with the crime, which is a political matter.
Crime unfortunately is happening all over the Caribbean.
I just recently read something about the Bloods and the Crips gangs operating in Bermuda and escalating crime violence there! Bermuda?
of all places!

I am sorry, H X, that you had that experience while visiting SXM.
But I agree with Statia. I still think.. ..know... that SXM is a safe place to visit ...most people visit here without incident....but there are definitely more robberies taking place.
Being careful, as Statia decribed is what we have to do now...


Barbara1 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2006, 01:09 PM
  #7  
 
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Some Governments are blaming the United States for their Islands rise in crime.

The reason being that the U.S. is extriditing non National criminals back to their respective Islands instead of feeding and housing them.

Imagine, another way for the World to blame us for their problems.

Crime is very much on the rise everywhere.
Before traveling, use the internet to browse the local newspaper for several weeks before you go.

Paradise is changing.

Oh yes, American television is to blame too..........

I'm sorry that this happened to you, HX.

Return to the Caribbean again, but utilize the benefit of your experience
Santa is offline  
Aug 25th, 2006, 03:06 PM
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I agree that drugs have a lot to do with the increase in crime on most islands, as well as American television.

Even on our little 8-square mile island we have begun to have the occassional petty theft due to drugs.
Statia is offline  
Aug 25th, 2006, 03:18 PM
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H_X, thanks for sharing/posting your experience. I would have been terrified too if I went thru something like that on vacation. Glad you were not hurt.
mnag is offline  
Aug 25th, 2006, 10:57 PM
  #10  
 
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"American Television" is to blame for crime in the Caribbean? Syndicated comedys....soap operas.....afternoon talk shows....local newscasts....American Idol. I see the crime wave moving in like a cold front. Always America's fault and no accountability by the governments and residents.
CaribbeanSoul is offline  
Aug 26th, 2006, 03:25 AM
  #11  
 
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It was bad in the 80's & that was before most had TV. It's a shame you had this experience but every place has crime but it's usually very well hushed up.
Carrybean is offline  
Aug 26th, 2006, 04:14 AM
  #12  
 
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Santa,

Not blaming the US for anything, but the deportation policy is horrendous.
Deporting for example a murderer to a country he left when is three months old and is now 45, broke, no job, no skils and been in jail the last 25 years is a bad policy. What do you think that person will do when he goes to a country he does not know?

Sorry to get off topic, but this is a very sore topic with many in the islands as resources are being strained because of people whose crimial career started elsewhere and are being dumped back to the islands.

H_X - sorry to hear about your plight. You did the right thing in not resisting.
jray is offline  
Aug 26th, 2006, 04:56 AM
  #13  
 
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Posts: 395
The precautions mentioned by Statia are exactly the ones taken by us. We have been to St. Martin at least 6 times, and nothing has ever happened to us. Just use your common sense. One example: last year my husband really wanted to go up on Pic Paradis and see the view from there (turned out to be a bit disappointing actually!). I insisted on taking a taxi up there rather than using our rental car - worked out fine and wasn't too expensive. Other precautions we take is always locking our car, never leaving anything of value inside, and leaving all valuables in the hotel safe as much as possible. And oh yes, we always stay on the French side. Nothing to do with safety issues; we just don't like the Dutch side all that much (particularly Philipsburg!).
Carola22 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2006, 06:47 AM
  #14  
 
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Carola22
Have you been to Philipsburg lately?
It is a whole different town now that the boardwalk is 2/3 finished and the renovations on Front Street have taken place.
Of course, it is still a crazy scene when
the cruise ships are in...
Barbara1 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2006, 02:41 PM
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Remember when Fidel opened the prisons & sent all the criminals to the States? I do.
Carrybean is offline  
Aug 26th, 2006, 10:56 PM
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Excuse me, but what were you doing alone, after dark, on a deserted road, walking? You can't do that anywhere in the world anymore. This was not related to crime, this was you not using common sense, and expecting to be safe and you have to know that the world is NOT a safe place anymore. I am so sorry you had to learn this lesson, and please don't blame the residents on island or tell people to keep away because you were not thinking of your own safety.
wantsomesun is offline  
Aug 27th, 2006, 05:28 AM
  #17  
 
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Why are you blaming the victim? When I was robbed 3 times, raped & beaten up I was in my locked room.
Carrybean is offline  
Aug 27th, 2006, 07:29 AM
  #18  
 
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Carrybean: I'm sorry for what happened to you. I cannot begin to understand what you went through. I will however say that what happened to H_X does NOT even begin to compare to what happened to you... so it is not fair to apply responses to his/her post to your situation.
The truth is that walking around in the dark is not a good idea. Period. It's not fair but it is the reality of the world we live in. I'm glad H_X shared his/her experience as some of us apparently still need to be reminded what not to do when traveling abroad. It certainly won't deter me from experience that island one of these days.
caribtraveler is offline  
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