Security Services Panama

Panama Security Services

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Security Services Panama

Most visits to Panama are trouble free. The country enjoys revenue from the Panama Canal tolls and is the second most competitive economy in Latin America according to the World Economic Forum. The Panama Canal is a highly important and strategic waterway that could be considered a terror target for those groups targeting Western interests.

Colombian terrorist groups, drug traffickers, and the flood of illegal immigration on the Panama-Colombia border led to the border being closed in May 2016 for a period. This closure enabled the Panama government to try to stem the flow of both illegal narcotics heading north and the illegal immigration heading south.

Political demonstrations do occur (mainly around Panama University) but are mostly non-violent, the Panamanian National Police have used tear gas and/or riot control munitions in response to demonstrations. Visitors are advised not to get involved with demonstrations and are advised to leave the vicinity should any take place.

Gangs are often involved with organised crime and in some areas pickpockets and robberies at ATMs are on the rise. Tourists are advised to remain vigilant in and around bus stations and on public transport as these are areas where pickpockets and robberies occur most often and where you are most at risk.

Violent crime including gun crime is very common in Panama. Crimes against tourists are common place in Panama City, Colon, Chiriqui province, San Miguelito, El Chorillo and Juan Diaz. Care should be taken and visitors are advised to be aware of their surroundings at all times.

Do not get involved with drugs in any way, this includes being in the presence of those taking drugs. Panama has very strict laws on drug possession and trafficking; the courts do impose long sentences and it can take up to two years to even get put before a Judge.

Best practice is not to outwardly display wealth. Stay low key and ensure that valuables are secured in your hotel room and are not left unattended in vehicles.

The standards of driving in Panama are not good compared to US or European standards. The roads are very congested at peak times and drink driving is a common cause of road traffic accidents. Panama boasts good roads within large cities and towns but in rural areas roads remain in a bad state of repair.

Car hire is readily available with many of the large international firms operating in Panama. Visitors for the UK and USA may drive on their national licenses for a period of 90 days only. If visitors are going to self-drive it is important that they plan their rout well and totally avoid driving at night in rural or high crime areas.

Public transport is quite good in major cities, 2013 saw a new Metro Bus system known as Diablos Rojos (Red Devils) in Panama City. These are a great improvement and easy to use, but visitors are reminded to remain vigilant for pickpockets and criminal gangs.

Taxis should on the whole be avoided; the standard of the taxis and maintenance of most vehicles is not at all safe. Best practice is to organise a driver via your hotel as and when required.