US warns travelers to the Dominican Republic of violent crime, sexual assault


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Travelers heading to the Dominican Republic are exhorted to “exercise increased caution”  by the State Department due to crime and a rise sexual assault incidents.

The agency issued a level 2 travel advisory for the Carribbean country on Tuesday, stating “violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide and sexual assault is a concern throughout the Dominican Republic.”

According to the State Department website, there have been recent reports of U.S. citizens being robbed by people they met off of dating apps in the Dominican Republic. Some of the incidents involved date rape drugs and ocurred at major resorts and hotels. 

One U.S. woman said she was drugged and sexually assaulted in the Dominican Republic in January when she was visiting with a friend. She said she was watching live entertainment in a public area of the resort at night when she ordered a glass of wine that was delivered to her from the bar, and that was the last thing she remembered. 

According to the agency, the prosecution of rape cases is going to be different than in the U.S.

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“Sexual assault victims in the Dominican Republic should not expect the totality of assistance offered in the United States,” the travel advisory said. The process in the Dominican Republic moves “forward very slowly” and the victim may have to return to the island country. 

For the most part, resort areas are safer compared to metropolitan areas such as Santo Domingo since there is a tourist police corps. However, even around the resorts, travelers should avoid dark, secluded places, especially if they’re alone, and stay away from the beaches at night. 

People should not resist any robbery attempts or wear expensive jewelry. 

Travelers should also be careful about the taxis they’re taking by using one hailed by their hotel or a vetted company. There are also rideshare services like Uber in the Dominican Republic. 

If you experience any kind of assault, the agency urges people to tell their hotel to contact the police and the Embassy. 

Kathleen Wong is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Hawaii. You can reach her at

US warns travelers to the Dominican Republic of violent crime, sexual assault

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