December security message from US Embassy

The following is a December security reminder from the U.S. Embassy:

(posted Dec. 7, 10:40 a.m.)- Nicaragua routinely experiences an increase in crime during the month of December, with the theft of jewelry, money, credit cards, vehicles and other valuables in unattended areas or from unattended residences being most common. These incidents can, however, also involve violence which may result in serious injury.

Residential burglaries are common in December, especially in homes that are left vacant. U.S. citizens who live in Nicaragua should take appropriate measures to secure their homes if they are going to travel for the holidays.

The Embassy has received reports of robbery attempts in or near popular tourist destinations where assailants emerge from roadside locations to attempt to stop vehicles and rob passengers. The Embassy has received recent reports of two-passenger drive-by motorcycle robberies in which the perpetrators snatch valuables out of the hands of unsuspecting victims.

U.S. citizens should also exercise particular caution when approached by strangers offering assistance with finding a taxi cab. The U.S. Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens use only officially registered taxicabs. Radio-dispatched taxis are generally reliable and can normally be found at the International Airport and larger hotels.

The U.S. Embassy recommends taking appropriate security precautions, particularly while shopping at local markets or malls, and upon arrival at Managua’s International Airport and at bus stations. Keep your wallet or purse close to your body. Do not flash cash or carry large sums of money. Pay close attention to your surroundings when withdrawing money from ATM machines. Leave expensive jewelry at home. Avoid crime-prone areas such as Managua’s Mercado Oriental. Park in well-lit and non-isolated areas and know the location of your vehicle. It is recommended that travelers keep doors locked and windows up when driving, especially in Managua.

La Purisima, Dec. 7

Make Way for Maria (photo/ Tim Rogers)

Many Nicaraguans will celebrate “La Purisima – Griteria” on the evening of Dec. 7. During this religious celebration, streets all over the country will be crowded starting in the afternoon. In Managua, large concentrations of people are expected at “Plaza de La Revolucion,” around the governmental offices and institutions and in many rotundas. Vehicle access might be restricted in several areas around the city due to the celebrations.

Please be advised that fireworks, and possibly firearms, will be discharged during the celebrations. The Nicaraguan National Police have authorized only Police Officers, Nicaraguan Army and properly licensed Private Security Guards to carry their weapons on Dec. 7 and Dec. 8. Private individuals are not authorized to carry personal weapons of any kind (firearms, switchblades and knives) on those days. Despite this regulation, firearms may still be discharged.

The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Managua will be open for emergency services only on December 24, 26, 27 and 28, 2012. The Embassy will be closed in observance of Christmas Day on December 25 and January 1, 2013 in observance of New Years Day.

In the event of a life or death emergency involving a U.S. citizen please call 2252-7100. U.S. citizens can call this phone number and ask for the American Citizen Services Unit during working hours and the Embassy Duty Officer after hours. For all other matters related to American citizen services, please send an email to ACS.Managua@state.gov.

We wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

  • de Las Sombras

    … but I can still carry/discharge my ‘mortero’… after all it IS a “cultural right” as declared by the Minister of Education after the new firearms law (510) was enacted which technically outlawed them!!!

  • Daddy-yo

    Santas bombas, si. The idea is to lob them as close to God as possible.

  • http://www.arthotelmanagua.com Karla Corea

    I am not sure their advice is sound. Most hotel taxis are quite expensive and overcharge tourists, often up to five times the amount of a normal, licensed taxi. Most are not licensed taxis, but private taxis or tour agents. There aren’t many “radio dispatched taxis” in Nicaragua, but there are some. Airport taxis are safe, but you should not go to the airport to find one unless you are already there. They are also more expensive than most taxis and ask for about $20-$30 for a trip from the airport to hotels in Managua.

    The proper advice would be to look for a registered taxi that has his license plate matching the number painted on the vehicle, make a note of the plate number, negotiate the price first in local currency, and ask him not to pick up additional passengers. Usually you won’t have a problem.

    As for people offering to find a taxi for you, they usually get a commission from the driver. This means the driver will charge you more to cover that.

    • Ana Anonima

      And sometimes people offering to find a taxi for you will help the taxi driver kidnap you, torture you until give up your ATM PIN number, clean out your bank account including any overdraft protection you have, in some cases molest you repeatedly, then push you out of the moving taxi at night, with nothing but the clothes you are wearing, with no way of knowing where you are or how to get help.

      In the last four years this has happened to 3 people I personally know and many more I’ve only heard about. Beware of the “help” of strangers.