Guns on the Streets of Guatemala

Rudy Giron: &emdash; Guns on the Streets

I do’t believe that more guns on the streets make a place safer. For instance, more guns on the streets of the United States don’t make the country safe; guns just make the country more violent. I am sure the same for Guatemala and neighbouring countries.

Ever since an ex-military was elected as the president of Guatemala, we get to see more guns on the streets bore by the military. However, the general perception is that we are still not safer than what we were with the previous government. In fact, the statistics confirm it as well.

Having said that, most violence in Guatemala is petty crime directed at the locals and almost never at tourists. Most of the bad reputation is actually earned by the crimes rates in Guatemala City, a metropolitan area with similar crime rates as Washington D.C., New Orleans or Chicago.

Still, it is always a good idea to take precautions and be alert to avoid becoming a victim a petty theft here in Guatemala and anywhere in the world, really. An acquaintance of mine managed not to get his iPhone stolen for over three years in Guatemala City and in less than a week it was stolen in Stockholm, Sweden, one of the safest cities in the world. As you can see, one should take precautions everywhere to be safer.

© 2014, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • El Canche

    It’s certainly complex and regrettable there are guns everywhere. Man was originally pitched equally in conflict with others (mano a mano), but it didn’t take long for one of them to reach for a stone; the next one a bigger stone, the next one a catapult, the next a bow and arrow…and here we are! I’m sure in the near future, guns will be superseded. Guns aren’t the problem; it’s evil in the heart of man. For my part, I like to feel the bad guys face a deterrent; but are there any good guys to deliver real protection?
    I find many blogs from picturesque cities round the world gloss over problems like crime and violence against the general population because its bad for business; will ADP discuss how people feel about these issues and living in “Real Antigua”?

    • As always Canche, your feedback is very punctual and to the point. Well, I have open the door to discuss these issues here so we can get a better glimpse of the #RealAntiguaGuatemala.

  • Ibis

    Rudy – this is a GREAT website. I am so glad that I found it. Your photos are very inspiring. I am going to Antigua for Holy Week. I am excited and at the same time a little scared with the write-ups on crime. I intend on taking a Nikon D800 – I am going for the fantastic photo ops – why would I waste them with a point & shoot. Forgive my stupid question – should I be concerned?

    • Luis

      Ibis, I am going to La Antigua Guatemala for Holy Week too.
      LAG is pretty safe. In my many years going there I have seen only one attempt of robbery on “la calle del arco” but the thief was stopped by the locals and tourists nearby. If you want to go to Cerro de la Cruz go with one of the tours offered by the Tourism Police. In other town’s I would be very cautious about showing your Nikon. And, if you go to Guatemala City, never ever take your camera out if you are outside on public areas, especially the streets and parks.
      I am not trying to scare but that’s the crude reality of my Guatemala.
      Hope you enjoy “las procesiones” in La Antigua Guatemala.

      • I second what Luis has mentioned here as well, except I do take my camera with me everywhere I go, even to Guatemala City, but I always try to disguise it by only using a regular backpack or satchel when I am visiting places that might be dangerous. I do host photo walks in many places in Guatemala; my most recent street photography photo walk outside Antigua Guatemala we had at Panajachel, Sololá with the Atitlán’s photo club members and we were using flash guns off camera during the evening.

      • Ibis

        Luis – thank you so much for the info. I am taking a Viator tour to Chichicastenago and Panajachel. Is it safe to take out my Nikon there?

    • Hi Ibis, great, perhaps you can take one of my photo walks, either the public or solicit a private one. I would say Antigua Guatemala is pretty safe, yet petty crime does exist. As I mentioned in the post, I would take some precautions always, the same precautions I take when visiting NYC, LA or Philadelphia.

      • Ibis

        Rudy – I am originally from Puerto Rico and unfortunately crime is in my beautiful country as well. Where can I learn of your photo walks?

        • Hi Ibis, you can find out about my public photo walks at the link below. I also lead private photo walks in case you want to have my full attention.

          • iIbis

            Would love to go on a photo walk. Are you doing one on Monday or Tuesday, April 14th or 15. What is charge for private.

  • Ed Brunet

    Watch out for your smartphones. I had a new Galaxy Note 2 which was stolen on my last trip in December on a chicken bus from Chimaltenango to La Antigua. The pickpocket who stole it was so good I never felt it leave my pocket. And that was my front pants pocket. Unfortunately I never set it up to lock and wipe it so all I could do is track for 3 days in Guatamala City and keep ringing it until the thief turned off the tracking. I now have a Note 3 and am in Antigua again for the next 2 weeks and you can bet I will have my hand on it at all times. P.S. the first thing I did after receiving it was to set a password on the lock screen and setup remote locking and wiping.