St. Croix crime...the truth  

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Missi3170
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December 3, 2013 6:25 pm  

Ok I know this question has been asked many times, but I'm asking again because I know a lot had changed in the past year. My family and I currently live on St. John, but are considering a move to St. Croix for a job opportunity. I read people saying that it's a good day of they "weren't robbed at gun point" and it's pretty much a guarantee to have your home broken into regularly. Is this REALLY the case?? Any time I or my husband have been there it seems fine. I can't help but feel really really worried since everyone I talk to says its extreme dangerous. Also wondering, I've heard Hovensa may be bought again, if this happens would crime most likely improve? Would you say St. Thomas is "worse" than St. Croix?


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JulieKay
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December 3, 2013 6:52 pm  

We just moved from St. Croix back to the states. Here's my honest experience regarding crime on STX from my last two years there:

I would not say it is "extremely dangerous." Yes there are murders, but they generally are gang related or retribution of some sort - in other words, your chance of being randomly shot or stabbed is pretty low.

However robberies and burglaries are very routine. We were never robbed ourselves, but we have lots of friends who have been - their homes, their cars, even in person - muggings - even carjackings. I think the main reason we were never robbed was because we avoided certain areas of the island, especially at night, which was sad. We never were at Cane Bay after dark. We rarely went to Christiansted after dark, and even then we stayed in the most populated areas. Many of our friends who used to hang out at the boardwalk at night stopped after the muggings around the government lot became rampant. We stopped going to our favorite beach out by Point Udall because the car break-ins changed from being "snatch and grab" robberies to full out stealing wheels off of cars and even stealing the cars themselves. Daytime break-ins in homes are fairly common, generally taking quick things to steal like computers or TVs. We were always very particular about workers coming over to our house that we didn't know - it's one way that homes get cased for theft. Discussion of robberies and preventing being robbed or avoiding hot spots is fairly common.

One thing that has improved though over the last year is the number of restaurant robberies seems to have dwindled down to almost none, I think because the police have shown they're not afraid to come after those criminals. But I would be lying if I said I didn't choose which jewelry I would wear or if I took my purse with me or not depending upon where we were eating on any given night. I have friends in the restaurant business and most of them do not wear wedding rings or other sentimental/valuable jewelry while working, they don't want to take the chance.

All this said, there is no where in the world that is completely safe. And St. Croix is a wonderful island, I met some of the most amazing people in my life there, and have made lifelong friends. The actual group of criminals is very small, most everyone you meet is wonderful. It's all about adapting and not living in fear. I have friends who never lock their doors of their homes - they figure if someone wants to rob, they'll do it regardless, and they don't want to live in fear. It's really a mindset. We did not leave because of the crime.

I do wish there was a way to arrest more criminals. But unfortunately it isn't happening. Out where we lived the police have been given very specific information about criminals in the area (license plates, descriptions) and it seems like no one is ever arrested, and the same crimes keep happening.

In summary - in my opinion, if you move to STX, don't live in fear for your life, but be mentally prepared for dealing with theft, and how you and your family will work with it…where you choose to live and how you choose to live and so on.

"This is your world. Shape it or someone else will." ~Gary Lew


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JulieKay
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December 3, 2013 6:53 pm  

I see you added about Hovensa - most people on St. Croix say the crime is better now that Hovensa is closed, rather than before. I don't know if it's because Hovensa attracted a "bad element" or just that the population is smaller, no idea. But definitely violent crimes have decreased after Hovensa closed. No idea what will happen if it opens again.

"This is your world. Shape it or someone else will." ~Gary Lew


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Missi3170
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December 3, 2013 7:00 pm  

Julie, thank you SO much for the detailed response. I don't know, st. Croix has such a terrible reputation. My husband lived there for a few months and never ran into any problems. When I think of st. Croix, I feel so fondly about it and the memories I have there. Then I mention it to anyone that lives on STJ and they just say how dangerous it is. I feel so conflicted about moving there. I don't want to live in fear ever. It's not just me though, we have a little baby to think of as well. Thanks so much again


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JulieKay
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December 3, 2013 7:17 pm  

You're welcome, good luck! 🙂

"This is your world. Shape it or someone else will." ~Gary Lew


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SantaCoola
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December 3, 2013 8:21 pm  

Truth is that it is scary. I'm a native Crucian...whats happening in St Croix doesn't happen in the majority of places the size of STX. I used to carry a weapon everywhere I went and to be honest, its hard not to feel paranoid when you hear bout crime and you know people who are victims of crime.

Doesn't hurt to have a healthy dose of caution at all times in STX or anywhere else...


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SunnyCaribe
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December 3, 2013 8:24 pm  

Several people I know on StJ who have lived in both places tell me that crime is much worse on StJ than StX. I am inclined to believe them. In well over 20 years on StX I have PERSONALLY been burglarized once (at my business when no one was there) and been shot at once (a warning shot--I stupidly walked into a burglary without realizing it). My wife's workplace has been hit by petty thieves a few times. I say 'personally' because I find anecdotal discussions of crime to be essentially useless. At the same time there is far less racial tension and economic division here by comparison to StT according to all my colleagues there. The tourist industry drives people to say awful things about St. Croix in order to drive visitation to StT and StJ but I wouldn't live in either place on a bet after spending nearly half my life on StX.

If I think about my relatives back home and the instances of crime they've experienced, I would say overall that we on StX are on or perhaps only slightly above par. Actually, if I include my midwestern family, StX comes out quite a bit ahead.

The closure of Hovensa has brought with it a further reduction in crime. Good riddance to the refining industry. Living in a post-Hovensa St. Croix has been a wonderful Caribbean experience and I hope the refinery is cleaned up and turned back into something like farmland.


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Jamison
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December 3, 2013 10:23 pm  

I have worked late nights at a few of the bars and clubs and I feel safe. I've only been robbed once. Csted got pretty bad for a while there, but I hear it's better now.


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DixieChick
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December 3, 2013 11:13 pm  

Better now because people like to leave town early.
And of course are more cautious.


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Missi3170
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December 4, 2013 12:09 am  

Thanks everyone! There seems to be such a mix of answers! I guess the only way to know is to see for myself. It's funny that some folks say stx is very dangerous and others say it's perfectly safe. It's not like countries in Latin America where one could confidently say (with most agreeing) are extremely dangerous. I appreciate everyone's input. It's really interesting that crime has dropped since the refinery closed. I thought people out of jobs would be desperate.


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Missi3170
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December 4, 2013 12:12 am  

And yes. I completely agree about the racial tension and segregation. It's bad here on STJ and in my experience on STX, it's basically non existent. In fact, it's as if people don't even notice what color you are at all!


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wcpalmer
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December 4, 2013 1:56 am  

Missi3170, I am really glad that you asked this question. I too am looking to move to STX in the near future and want to be well aware of what I am getting into.

Jamison, you said that "C'sted got pretty bad for a while there" can you elaborate any on that for me?
I am looking to live and work somewhere around C'sted and was under the impression that it is pretty safe.

SantaCoola as a native Crucian, I feel you would have an interesting perspective since you have seen STX change over the years. you said "truth is that it is scary" is that your opinion of the entire island? or the particular part that you lived in? and has crime increased or been on the decline in your opinion?


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Jamison
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December 4, 2013 3:45 am  

I worked at 54 for a while and worked until 6 or 7 in the morning. I worked other places in Csted too. Hung out late in bad areas as well. It was never a worry a couple years ago, then it started getting shady. Our Security guard got shot, because he stopped someone with a gun, but I wasn't there, just on my way. That was a strange night. Police cheif got shot by the Eat robbers, a big shoot out in center island. I think 8 people died that night. Things changed after that and things got worse. However, I think most of the crime has stopped. The cops upped their game and the courts are supporting them finally (which was the real problem). Csted I hear is still a ghost town most of them time, compared to what it was, but it'll be back. STX is not only safe, but great. I love it here, especially the west end, it feels more like STX. That fades the further east yo go. I love this community and I'm glad it's liked me back. Crucians are great people.


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Missi3170
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December 4, 2013 10:59 am  

Thanks...I agree. Stx is such an amazing, special place and the people
Are amazing. It's such a shame about the shootings


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stt007
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December 4, 2013 11:41 am  

As sunnycaribe mentioned, the racial tension and economic division is so much better on stx than stt. It is one of the main reasons we moved from stt to stx two years ago. People are people here, respectful, not concerned with the color of your skin or lot in life. We love it here.

I think if you look at the data, the crime is about the same on both stt and stx. At least for murders that is true. Not sure about other crimes but I expect it to be about the same. Our home was burglarized twice in stt and we've had no incidents on stx although as a caveat, we do live in a gated community on stx. We've had no issues traveling around the island but with the exception of a few dinners in christiansted, we are home when it gets dark.

I wish we had moved to stx years much sooner than we did.


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sunshinefun
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December 4, 2013 12:16 pm  

I love STX and have lived here for many years. My home has only been robbed once. I feel reasonably safe but make cautious decisions on when and where to go out at night. I have noted an increase in crime since Hovensa closed not the opposite as has been reported by others. The refinery will most likely reopen in some capacity within the next year or two bringing a bit of prosperity back to the island. People here are very friendly and race has not been an issue in the years I have been here. There are lots of opportunities on STX.


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speee1dy
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December 4, 2013 12:30 pm  

if you live on stj, you hear crime is worse on stx, if you live on stx you think crime is worse on stt etc....

i will say that crime in the virgin islands is generally worse than in most cities stateside. murder rate higher, but we all know that.

is it worse than on stj-depends on what crime has affected you and who you tell. it is all about perception.

i have had more crime here in 9 years than my 40+ years in the states


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Jamison
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December 4, 2013 2:32 pm  

listen people, if anyone finds out that crime isn't that bad here or that we have amazing farms and open land and over 200 open beaches, more people are going to start coming to STX and rents and prices will go up. shhh

Things are awful here, it's so scary. lol


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Linda J
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December 4, 2013 3:00 pm  

Bottom line, you will have come and see for yourself.


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JulieKay
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December 4, 2013 4:31 pm  

listen people, if anyone finds out that crime isn't that bad here or that we have amazing farms and open land and over 200 open beaches, more people are going to start coming to STX and rents and prices will go up. shhh

Things are awful here, it's so scary. lol

Everyone should do the research to have full information about somewhere they move before they go, or at least as much as they can get, especially if they're going to spend a lot of personal resources in the process. I know too many people who moved to STX and left within six months because they couldn't hang, not necessarily with the crime, but with everything. Those folks lost a lot of time and money in the process. I absolutely think we should be honest here with our own experiences and opinions to help those who are thinking of making the move themselves, it's really a gift that we can give those folks.

Some people love St. Croix, some are kinda neutral, and some hate it or just can't handle it. Everyone's experience is different. Personally I love St. Croix and it was very hard to leave, but I also have my eyes wide open about the challenges, the crime of which is one. My experience with the crime over the last year has been troubling, too many of my friends and neighbors robbed. My perception of the crime is that it is pretty bad, and the saddest thing about is that it stops people from going out and having fun. Read how many people just in this discussion that say they don't stay out after dark - it's sad that the crime limits people in that way. Living in the states again now and going out in the evening is so different, not having to worry about someone grabbing my purse in a bar (which has happened to my friends on St. Croix), not wondering each time I leave the house if today is the day someone walks in and grabs some stuff. This is my experience.

In many ways I think it's harder for women to live on St. Croix then for men, just as a generalization. I do have girlfriends who are very happy on St. Croix but know a whole bunch too who would rather live somewhere else and are only on the island because their husbands want to be there (or have a job there). I do know that my friends in the gated communities feel safer and have more of a social group, and with a baby that would be where I would want to live, if I was doing it all again.

Like Linda says, everyone has to see for themselves. It helps to also hear the experiences of others in making up your mind.

"This is your world. Shape it or someone else will." ~Gary Lew


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wcpalmer
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December 4, 2013 9:08 pm  

JulieKay I appreciate how much you care about aiding people in their move to STX. Everyone has been really helpful, actually. It is very encouraging to see how willing people are to help.

I agree with you that it is sad to see how many people do not stay out past dark. It is kinda shocking really. I mean of course everyone warns tourists to watch out at any port they visit for muggers by telling them not to walk around in dark alley ways with their head down holding stacks of cash and a camera... I mean seriously people, that's even common sense in Mayberry... but I did not realize that most locals turn in early as well.

Jamison you said yourself that Csted is a ghost town these days... That is not quite the picture that is painted on STX web sites (for obvious reasons) and I know that you can not take anything they put on those sites for face value... but I was unaware of how many locals actually turn in early... So yeah, it is really insightful to hear a locals perspective and I really appreciate your opinion
And Jamison, you sound like a pretty stocky dude... so I am sure that your perspective is a bit different from say a 20 something year old girl living on the island.

I will be moving there with my gorgeous girlfriend and want to be sure that I will not be placing her in any danger by making this move.
(that may be a little dramatic, but you gotta understand my concern somewhat)

Jamison, you said the west side of the island still feels like STX, would most folks agree? If you were looking for a safe place for you and your girlfriend to live what area would you suggest?


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Missi3170
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December 4, 2013 10:43 pm  

Thanks so much everyone!! Wcpalmer...check out "the reefs" it's a nice gated community. That is where we were planning to move. I'm not sure if we are going to because of job situations. We may stay on STJ longer. It saddens me a little because we do really love stx. Crime or not...


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CAtoSTX
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December 4, 2013 11:50 pm  

Even a gated community doesn't necessarily mean safer.
A couple of summers ago at the Reef there was a string of break-ins. People would leave their doors unlocked at night while they slept, robbers came in and left usually, while people were sleeping upstairs...
One instance they came it, took car keys from the counter, and stole the car.

It happens.

But ya know, I just heard about a gunpoint mugging on STT last night too...

***had to add: we lived at the Reef for 3 years, and loved it. Never had a problem, but also knew well enough to lock our doors.


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jwidjaja
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December 5, 2013 1:12 am  

my husband and I moved to STX roughly 5 months ago. We live on the west end by Frederiksted and we absolutely love it!! We love the island, how it's not so touristy, it's gorgeous and the people are some of the friendliest people we've ever met. I do agree with what Jamison said about the west end of the island. We were going to move to STT at first, but we're sure glad we chose STX instead.

As far as crime, we've always heard of stuff on the newst etc but have never personally experienced it. We've gone out after dark sometimes to downtown christiansted to eat or just to run errands around frederiksted (groceries) and it was fine. Of course, we've always locked our cars/house but we do this wherever we live. I'm not belittling others' opinions and experiences with crime, I'm just expressing mine but then we've only lived here a short period of time.

We live on the hills right by Frederiksted by the rainforest, and feel very safe there. We have two dogs that will def make some noise when strangers come up. My husband was off island for a week and I was never afraid being by myself.

I'd choose the west end of the island over any gated community on the island, but that's just me. This all depends on your personality, what you look for and your personal preference and experiences.


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rotorhead
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December 5, 2013 2:11 am  

I have lived all over the US. Newark, Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, Detroit and Memphis. This is the first place that I have ever lived where I have personally known 4 people who were murdered, none solved, all in the last 5 years. I have never personally known anyone who was murdered before moving to STX.

This past weekend was the one year anniversary of an armed home invasion at our house. Three armed men broke into our house at about 1:00 am and held us at gunpoint for over 2 hours. My wife called 911 before they found her and the police killed 2 two and wounded the third on our driveway.

STX is an exciting place to live.

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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.
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