How Safe Are the Vi...
 

How Safe Are the Virgin Islands especially St Thomas and St Croix  

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DenverJim
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March 5, 2019 6:21 pm  

I know that this has been posted before, but the latest discussion I could find was 2017. My wife and I are considering retiring in VI and like everyone we want to know how safe it is, which areas to buy in, and which to avoid, and etc.  Thanks, jim


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Scubadoo
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March 5, 2019 11:27 pm  

Same old story.  Majority of the crime is drug related.  Most areas are relatively safe to live.  Crime can occasionally show up anywhere.  Gated communities can help.  Stay out of the housing projects.  East end STX  is generally less troublesome due to distance from the higher density center island.  But there are certainly good areas on STX mid-island, north shore, west end.  Strongly recommended to anyone to rent for at least a year to get a good understanding of the areas and make certain you want to stay before buying property.  Rentals are scarce right now on STX.  If you can find a buyer's agent to work with on rentals they can steer you to better areas.


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jaldeborgh
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March 6, 2019 2:16 am  

My wife and I sound like we may be in a similar situation except that we just purchased a home on the island.  I’m retiring in January of 2021 and we wanted a winter home away from our New England winters.  We’ve vacationed extensively in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America over our lifetime and finely decided on the USVI’s.  We ruled out St. Thomas mostly because of the congestion we’ve run into as we transited to St. John on a number of vacations, the cruise ships were also a concern.  While we love St. John as a vacation destination it’s too small as a permanent situation, simply not enough infrastructure.  St. John real estate is also dramatically more expensive than the other VI’s.  St. Croix, while not perfect, was the best overall compromise.  It offers good restaurants, a wide range of activities, real supermarkets and there’s a Home Depot.  In other words it’s blends the vision of paradise with a touch of practicality.  Make no mistake it has its challenges, my wife remains concerned about crime but we’ve spoken to a lot of folks about it and agree we just need to be prudent.  We chose to buy east of Christiansted, in part because we feel it may be safer but also because we found a house we really like.  My wife and I look for different things in a home so when we found one that easily met both our desires we didn’t hesitate.  We’re excited and believe St. Croix will be a great community, the people we’ve met thus far have been incredibly nice and welcoming.


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speee1dy
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March 6, 2019 8:01 am  

they are safe.


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rotorhead
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March 8, 2019 5:39 pm  

Make sure your health care insurance works here and get evacuation insurance. Get a big dog. The Pet Place will help.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
BJ


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Fishbait
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March 12, 2019 1:58 pm  

We bought in a gated, guarded community on STX. Within a week the guard's attitude with us changed from potential threat to potential Christmas tip!  ? 


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ritabos
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September 25, 2019 7:28 am  

Having a dog is good for safety. a bread-like German Sheperd will work very well. consult Packers and Movers. ask them questions and queries about the area and other things. check for your neighborhood.  


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singlefin
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September 25, 2019 9:53 am  

“In other words it’s blends the vision of paradise with a touch of practicality.”

Nice view of STX, completely agree.

However a dog isn’t a requirement. I wish some pet owners were a little more considerate here. I don’t agree with big dog = security. Too many dogs are undisciplined or allowed to wander aimlessly. Morning walks require a big stick... just in case.


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Rowdy802
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September 25, 2019 12:47 pm  

I can speak about STX. Knowledge, situation awareness, and common sense, keeps you safe. I hate to be Captain Obvious, but that is what I've used here and I've never ever had issues, even when the per capita numbers are against you.

  • I would always ask/get feedback of locations before traveling to a spot/place for the first time.
  • Wrong road? Roll-up windows. Check locks. Do a 180°.
  • I only use ATMs during the daytime, and, if there is no one using it, I always check the area first. Yet, I avoid carrying more than $100 cash. By the way, in STX, many of the ATMs are installed at locations where it is super easy for anyone to sneak up on you.
  • If it is late at night, the "shortest" distance to your car is the trail with the most traffic. Stick with the crowd. After all, walking is good exercise.
  • If you feel you are going to drink too much, then stay at home. 
  • Rent/buy only after you have gotten all the details and have scouted the area. Many rent, then buy once they get comfortable.

The list goes on and on... Since 2006 I've never had any issues in STX. However, there is the other side of safety that has to do with driving on the roadways here. That is a different topic. 


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Alana33
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September 30, 2019 9:01 am  

There's crime all over the world  

Being in a gated community doesn't necessarily protect you.

Who's got the gate code?

 


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VIpirate
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October 27, 2019 2:38 am  

I think the same rules apply anywhere in the world.  Stay out of the low income areas and most especially at night and be aware of your surroundings.  

In STT probably Northside in a gated community is best bet along with an alarm system and dog for another layer of notification.  

Honestly, haven’t felt unsafe in USVI, but also I’m aware of my surroundings and avoid questionable locations especially after dark.  

Life is too short to be paranoid about crime, but common sense precaution can help you to minimize the probability of being a victim.  


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NugBlazer
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November 7, 2019 2:46 pm  

On average, STX and STT definitely have more crime than the US.  But, it's not enough to discourage me from loving the islands.

After nearly 20 years, just about everyone I know has been a victim of crime, often violent.  Some of the posters in this very thread have had their houses burglarized at gunpoint.  Muggings, break-ins, carjackings have happened so many times to people I know that I've lost count.  I've personally been in a bar that's been robbed at gunpoint.  My own sister was shot at while bartending at Sunset Grill (now defunct, it was at Sprat Hall beach on the west end, north or Rainbow Beach) during dinner service at 8:30PM -- we found the bullet casings in the restaurant walls.  When I worked at Bacchus in Christiansted, we had co-workers robbed at gunpoint while walking to their cars after their shifts ended.  I also, sadly, know more than one person who has been murdered.  Peter Des Chardin, a great guy who wrote for the STX newspaper The Avis, was murdered in a robbery dinner during dinner service while sitting at his table at the Pickled Greek restaurant (now defunct, it twas near Tide Village gas station east of C-sted).  Jake Campen on STX was particularly grisly.  Thieves broke into his house in Estate Pearl and murdered him in his sleep.  They even killed his dog.

So, anyone who tells you that crime on STX or STT "isn't that bad" or "isn't any worse than the States" or is "mostly drug-related" is simply full of it and deluding themselves.  Crime here is definitely worse.

BUT, the good news is that, if you're careful and don't do stupid things like walk around the back streets of Christiansted or Charlotte Amalie at 4AM, then the risk is manageable and still worth living here.  Just don't get complacent.

This post was modified 1 month ago 3 times by NugBlazer

Cruzans do it better.


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jaldeborgh
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November 7, 2019 8:30 pm  
Posted by: @NugBlazer

On average, STX and STT definitely have more crime than the US.  But, it's not enough to discourage me from loving the islands.

After nearly 20 years, just about everyone I know has been a victim of crime, often violent.  Some of the posters in this very thread have had their houses burglarized at gunpoint.  Muggings, break-ins, carjackings have happened so many times to people I know that I've lost count.  I've personally been in a bar that's been robbed at gunpoint.  My own sister was shot at while bartending at Sunset Grill (now defunct, it was at Sprat Hall beach on the west end, north or Rainbow Beach) during dinner service at 8:30PM -- we found the bullet casings in the restaurant walls.  When I worked at Bacchus in Christiansted, we had co-workers robbed at gunpoint while walking to their cars after their shifts ended.  I also, sadly, know more than one person who has been murdered.  Peter Des Chardin, a great guy who wrote for the STX newspaper The Avis, was murdered in a robbery dinner during dinner service while sitting at his table at the Pickled Greek restaurant (now defunct, it twas near Tide Village gas station east of C-sted).  Jake Campen on STX was particularly grisly.  Thieves broke into his house in Estate Pearl and murdered him in his sleep.  They even killed his dog.

So, anyone who tells you that crime on STX or STT "isn't that bad" or "isn't any worse than the States" or is "mostly drug-related" is simply full of it and deluding themselves.  Crime here is definitely worse.

BUT, the good news is that, if you're careful and don't do stupid things like walk around the back streets of Christiansted or Charlotte Amalie at 4AM, then the risk is manageable and still worth living here.  Just don't get complacent.

Wow, you paint a very ugly picture of the islands.  Your last paragraph doesn't fit with those above it.  I would be long gone with what you've experienced.  I sincerely hope your experiences aren't typical for someone planning to retire on STX, says the guy who just bought a home there.


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vicanuck
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November 8, 2019 8:20 am  

@NugBlazer

If you're going to tell the stories, you should tell them accurately.

Peter Des Jardins was not murdered. He was struck by a stray bullet that ricocheted off the ceiling when the robbers fired a warning shot to get everyone's attention. His sister Eileen is a good friend of mine.

Jake Campen was a gang thug wannabe who was killed by drug dealers because he hadn't paid his debts. I knew both he and his parents well as they rented space from me for the frame shop.

I'm not saying your assessment of the crime situation is off base, just your recollection of some of the details you've highlighted.


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Gator's Mom
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November 8, 2019 10:57 am  

@vicanuck

Anyone killed during an armed robbery in a restaurant is murdered - whether or not the gun is directly pointed at her/him. Anyone killed during an armed home invasion is murdered - whether the victim is a wannabe thug or not.

Over my 20+ years of involvement in the VI, I witnessed a daylight tourist assault in Cruz Bay, a stabbing in Charlotte Amalie (I was in the wrong place at the wrong time) and my house was burgled on STX by our neighbor's lawn service guys.

I also was on Jost Van Dyke BVI the day Harris was killed - shot with a spear fishing gun - by Sidney's son.


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vicanuck
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November 8, 2019 11:05 am  

@Gator's_Mom

The Peter Des Jardins crime would have been Manslaughter not murder.

Sure Jake Campen was murdered, but, it wasn't by "thieves" breaking into his home.

My point was telling the tales "accurately."


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Gator's Mom
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November 8, 2019 11:17 am  

@vicanuck

It's felony murder if someone is killed during an armed robbery by a gunman wielding an illegal weapon. The gunman's accomplices also will be charged with felony murder.

This post was modified 1 month ago 2 times by Gator's Mom

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vicanuck
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November 8, 2019 11:26 am  

@Gator's_Mom

Fair enough.


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NugBlazer
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November 8, 2019 1:43 pm  
Posted by: @jaldeborgh

Wow, you paint a very ugly picture of the islands.  Your last paragraph doesn't fit with those above it.  I would be long gone with what you've experienced.  I sincerely hope your experiences aren't typical for someone planning to retire on STX, says the guy who just bought a home there.

No, I'm painting a REALISTIC picture of the islands.  I've got a hundred more crime-related stories that I could tell you.  BUT, despite all that, like I said, I still love the VI!  I just get tired of everyone acting like crime is no big deal here, when it's anything but.  It's the Caribbean, man.  It's not the states.  It's a mix of first-word and third-world.  Just watch your back and don't get complacent and you can minimize the risk.  But, there will always be some risk.  That's just the trade-off you make to live here.  Some are ok with it, some aren't.

And vicanuck, I think you're splitting hairs, bro.  Regarding Peter, my point is that he was minding his own business, having dinner at a restaurant, and BAM! he's dead.  As for Jake, he as such a nice kid.  Very kind.  Always in a good mood with his adorable dog.  I knew him and his parents.  They did all of my framing for me (I'm a photographer.)  I'd been to Jake's house in Estate Pearl hanging with him and his roommate Chris who was an even better friend of mine.  Maybe Jake was involved in gang stuff, but I never caught a whiff of that, and I think to call him a "gang thug wannabe" is a bit much.  Whatever the case, he certainly didn't deserve to be brutally murdered in his sleep.  There are some seriously disturbed locals onisland that you don't wanna mess with.

This post was modified 1 month ago by NugBlazer

Cruzans do it better.


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jaldeborgh
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November 9, 2019 12:20 pm  
Posted by: @NugBlazer
Posted by: @jaldeborgh

Wow, you paint a very ugly picture of the islands.  Your last paragraph doesn't fit with those above it.  I would be long gone with what you've experienced.  I sincerely hope your experiences aren't typical for someone planning to retire on STX, says the guy who just bought a home there.

No, I'm painting a REALISTIC picture of the islands.  I've got a hundred more crime-related stories that I could tell you.  BUT, despite all that, like I said, I still love the VI!  I just get tired of everyone acting like crime is no big deal here, when it's anything but.  It's the Caribbean, man.  It's not the states.  It's a mix of first-word and third-world.  Just watch your back and don't get complacent and you can minimize the risk.  But, there will always be some risk.  That's just the trade-off you make to live here.  Some are ok with it, some aren't.

I’m not wearing rose colored glasses.  My family and I have been visiting the Caribbean for the better part of 30 years and never had a bad experience.  We’ve always rented houses so we’re not resort people.  I’ve also traveled globally for much of my career, having traveled roughly 6 million miles throughout Asia, Europe, Mexico as well as the US.  Again, I’ve never had a bad experience in all this time.  Maybe I’ve been lucky but I prefer to believe knowledge and preparation translate into a positive outcome.

My key point is not letting the pendulum swing too far in any one direction.  The crime statistics speak for themselves for St. Croix and St. Thomas, caution is important but many people would be alarmed by what you had written, my wife being one of them.  She’s already a little paranoid based on the number of murders on the island.

It’s the violent crime that spooks people.  If your home or car gets robbed, yes you feel violated but it’s the fear of personal injury that will keep visitors away.  I also don’t get that it’s the 1st world colliding with the 3rd world, it’s more poverty living in close proximity to wealth, which breads jealousy and resentment, a really difficult problem.

Places like the USVI’s are a vacation playground for the upper middle class and a small number of the truly wealthy.  Violent crime is a huge red flag for this demographic, which can destroy a leading economic engine for the Territory.  It’s a community problem that will require a community commitment to manage and improve.  I’m all in on that score, finding ways to make things better.


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NugBlazer
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November 9, 2019 2:38 pm  

To be honest, I think you have been lucky, quite so in fact.  Also, visiting a place and living there are not the same.  Once you start spending real time (years, not weeks) here, your chances of something happening eventually are near 100%.  I honestly can't think of anyone I know that's been in the VI for 5+ years that hasn't had something happen.  As for myself, despite all I've experienced, I actually consider myself lucky.  I haven't had any major violence perpetrated directly against me, but I've been close.  I've had a gun waved at me, for example, but the trigger wasn't pulled.  I did get a punched and a tooth knocked out back in 2009, but that's because I was being a dumb*ss and was blackout drunk in Christiansted at Club 54 at 3AM on St. Patty's Parade night.  Entirely avoidable.

You're spot on about violent crime spooking people.  Like I said, some can handle the risk, some can't.  But, the risk is there, whether you like it or not.  If you can't accept that, then I'm afraid you'll be in for a rude awakening at some point.  Because, if you're here long enough, something will happen.  It's only a matter of time.  As I keep saying, the key is to mitigate the risk.  Don't be where you shouldn't late at night.  Leave exterior lights on your house at night.  Learn local customs like saying Good Morning and Good Afternoon.  Don't be one of those annoying statesiders that arrives and expects everything to be like it is back home.  Get a dog.  Lock your car.  Don't go to a deserted beach alone, even during the day, but, if you do, keep a lookout.  Don't flash wads of cash in public.  Don't use an ATM after dark if no one's around.  Common sense is the key.  If something feels off, listen to the voice inside your head.

Also, there are plenty of people that are strictly middle class and even some lower middle class that vacation here, at least on STX.  It's not just the wealthy and upper middle class.

As for the community solving the issues, don't hold your breath.  I hate to say it, but local politicians are spectacularly corrupt and inept.  It's always the same ol' platitudes and promises, yet nothing ever changes.  But, that's the crux of the issue:  you have to be ok with the status quo if you're going to enjoy living in the VI.  If you pin your hopes on things changing, you're going to be disappointed.  As messed us as thing are here, in a sick twist of irony, it's part of what makes the VI what it is.

I'll close with this:  you clearly love the VI -- you bought a house!  So, don't get cold feet, run with it!  Just be smart about it and you'll be ok.  Remember, for every bad story I could tell you about the VI, there are ten good ones!  Don't forget that!  If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.  We always welcome a new islander as long as they've got what it takes to fit in, go with the flow and embrace the islands.  Good luck!

Cruzans do it better.


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jaldeborgh
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November 9, 2019 3:06 pm  

@NugBlazer, thanks for your thoughtful response.  My wife and I are drawn to the Island Life, we love the Caribbean culture, we see it as a tonic for the nonstop intensity of living on the mainland.  We also old enough that being out after about 10:00pm would be a rarity and neither of us would be out alone at that hour.  Again, thanks for your perspective and advice.


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maxi88
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November 16, 2019 3:25 am  

Being in a gated community doesn't necessarily protect you.


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rotorhead
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November 16, 2019 1:13 pm  

My personal story. Held at gun point for over two hours.
http://www.vipd.gov.vi/Public_Interest/Press_Releases/Show_Press_Release/12-11-30/Two_Suspects_Dead_Following_Home_Invasion.aspx

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by rotorhead

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
BJ


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rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
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Posts: 2457
November 16, 2019 5:26 pm  

BTW. The suspect who survived was only charged with burglary. Even though people died and unregistered firearms were involved.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
BJ


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