Every week I get at least one email from someone asking about Crime and any possible terrorism in Cebu. Some guys said they have read articles about bombs exploding all over Cebu City and army forces marching down the streets of Cebu shooting people. FIRST OF ALL, there is NO terrorism in Cebu, No bombs exploding and the last I checked the army was not marching the streets of the city. I have said it hundreds of times, Cebu is a very safe place and I feel safer in Cebu than I did living in Fort Myers, Florida. As for the guys with the over active imagination I can only recommend that you check your sources before making such crazy statements.
There is crime in Cebu, just as there is in any major world city in any country. This week I wanted to write a long article about safety and crime in Cebu City and the Province of Cebu. My intent was to put to rest some of the wild statements about Cebu and terrorism. Again, there is not any terrorism type activity in Cebu.
Anyway, as I started to research the crime statistics for both the city and province I found some very different numbers. Seems all the Philippine government agencies I checked for crime statistics have different numbers or no numbers at all. Needless to say this is a bit of a surprise to me. Then again, it's the Philippines and different agencies use different reporting methods. The Philippine National Police PNP certainly doesn't want to show any type of increase in crime numbers and the City government wouldn't either, that would hurt tourism.
Here's the question, is there an increase in crime in the city and depending on which agency you ask the answer is yes and no. Much of the confusion is just individual agencies protecting themselves and their jobs. As Cebu grows in population one can assume that the crime rate has gone up. The biggest crime will always be street crime such as pick pockets and armed robbery. Most of these crimes won't be against expats, but Filipinos. Expats do need to be aware that most Filipinos think we are all rich and we are walking ATM's. That just means don't go walking around the wrong area alone after dark. If you do then of course you put yourself at risk.
I think this might be a good example. I lived in Fort Myers, Florida for about ten years before moving to Cebu. The Fort Myers area continues to grow every year. Lots and lots of people move to Fort Myers and there's lots and lots of new homes going up all over the area. Fort Myers is a safe place to live, but has two known High crime areas, Pine Manor and Dunbar. During the day these two areas are somewhat safe, but NOT at night. Going into these areas at night and alone is nothing less than stupid. The same can be said for a couple areas of Cebu city. Colon and parts of Mandaue are not the safest place to go at night.
Here's the difference. When someone gets robbed, shot, raped or beat up in Fort Myers there is NO National headline or evening news program stating Fort Myers is a terrorist area and high crime area to avoid. However, when the same crime happens to an expat in Cebu there are World headlines and news programs stating Cebu is a dangerous place. Why, because a silly expat failed to heed warnings about certain areas to avoid and becomes a crime victim and the Embassies picks up the story and issues travel warnings and then the story gets blown way up stating the whole country is dangerous. All because a tourist felt his nationality would protect him and he didn't need to listen to warnings about certain areas to avoid.
When in Cebu you can expect to hear of crime. When in Fort Myers you can expect to hear of crime. You know the areas NOT to go to, SO DON'T go to those small areas that are known for crime. SIMPLE! Then you don't become a victim. I will continue to research the crime statistics and when I get some valid numbers I will write the article about Cebu Crime. Until then, please use common sense. Know where to go and where not to go. Just like you do in your home country.
By using common sense you will have a wonderful time in Cebu and enjoy the area as much as I do. Just remember, you are a visitor and guest of the Philippines, BE NICE!
Patrick McGrain is the owner of [http://www.philippine-islands-living.com] Patrick has lived in in Camotes Islands, Cebu, Philippines for four years years with his Filipina wife.
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