The Canadian Government has warned travellers to Belize to be extra-vigilant after the local authorities declared a state of emergency in two neighbourhoods in Belize City due to violent crime. Visitors are advised to avoid the areas of George Street and Ghost Town.

Breaking Belize News reports that a series of murders, some gang related, triggered the state of emergency. Channel 5 Belize says that over 100 people were detained in the city between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The state of emergency is expected to last 30 days, but could be extended if there is not an improvement in security.

If you are headed to Belize, make sure you comply with the advice below. If you will be spending time in Belize City, you might want to check with your travel insurance provider to see if/how this impacts on your coverage.

From the Canadian Government

On September 4, 2018, the government of Belize declared a state of emergency for two south side neighbourhoods of Belize City, namely the George Street and Ghost Town areas, as a result of a significant increase in violent crime. Police have been deployed to the area in an attempt to stabilize the situation.

Avoid the affected area. If you are in the affected area :

  • be extremely vigilant
  • follow the instructions of local authorities
  • monitor local news

Criminal activity, including armed robbery, mugging and sexual assault, is a significant problem throughout Belize. Robberies and assaults have been reported in resort areas. There has been a noted increase in violent crime targeting tourists since the end of 2013. Criminals often operate in groups and target persons travelling alone. Always travel in groups and ensure that personal belongings and travel documents are secure at all times. Do not show signs of affluence. Use taxis after dark instead of walking.

Armed robberies occasionally occur near the western border with Guatemala, including near and around Caracol. You should only travel to these areas during daylight hours. Be cautious when visiting Mayan archaeological sites in that region, and do so only with a reputable tour guide. Only use official border crossings to enter Guatemala during the day.

Cases of sexual assault against female travellers have been reported. Always travel in groups and avoid isolated areas, including unsupervised beaches, especially at night. Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault.

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