Living in Chile? Beware of Robbery

There’s a new threat that Americans should be aware of if they’re considering re-locating in Chile. Crime is everywhere but in this country robbery is becoming the new favorite past-time.

According to Justice Studies Center of the Americas, the number of “high impact crimes” or “delitos de mayor connotación social� (i.e. “violent robbery, robbery with intimidation and robbery involving surprise; breaking and entering; assault; rape; murder; and theft.”) have been on the increase in Chile; an 11.7 % total increase from one year to the next which equates roughly to 971 robberies per 100,000 inhabitants. According to the U.S. Embassy of Chile’s website, [compared to other major cities] “crime rates are low to moderate throughout Chile and are moderate in Santiago…There have been very few violent crimes committed against Americans.”

“It’s true. Violent crimes against Americans and other expatriates are nearly unheard of in Santiago. Expats are more often victims of non-violent home robberies, crimes of opportunity. What then separates the robbed from those who still have all their original house contents? The answer is simple: The right information,” says Heather Domnick.

Things to remember:

1.) Not answering the door bell. Answering it means someone’s home and most robbers don’t like that. It’s easier to get your stuff when you’re not there.

2.) Strangers in the house. Carpet cleaners, plumbers, movers, the handyman–these are all people who walk through your house, talk to your nana and have a view of your household from the inside out, many times are unsupervised.

3.) Your maid, even if part time, probably has a good idea of how your home is run and what the schedule is. A recipe for disaster if she’s anything less than honest or unintentionally tells the wrong people.

4.) Construction Workers. If you have a home being built near by, it’s possible watching your house has become a favorite past time for the local construction workers.

5.) Nobody’s Home. Vacant homes are the easiest to rob. Plan in advance to avoid your house be subject during the holidays.

6.) Thieves see something they like and walk right in. Electric security gates and doors are not full proof, especially when someone doesn’t close them completely on their way out.

These tips may seem like common sense but, it’s easy for anyone to forget the little things until it’s too late and you come home to an unfurnished home. If you do happen to find yourself a victim of a crime while in Chile, the local U.S. embassy suggests that the loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.