Safety and Security in Panama, what to expect?

Panama is safe, this is our experience after more than 12 years in Panama. But maybe you don’t believe us, therefore we have gathered some objective data to prove to you that you can experience a fantastic and safe lifestyle in Panama.

Panama’s Scoring in the Global Peace Index

According to the Global Peace Index, which is an ranking of the safest countries worldwide, which is published every year by the independent Institute of Economics and Peace, Panama is ranked # 59 (out of 163 countries) and is ranking far above countries like the USA (ranked at a low # 103 !!), Greece (#82), Cuba (#85) and many other developed countries.

Crime Rates in Panama

Crime is in general low in Panama. To give you some more objective facts we compared the crime rates per 100000 inhabitants of several countries worldwide with the crime rate in Panama. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime publishes statistics with the major crime rate per country. Panama has a 2017 murder rate per year per 100000 inhabitants of 9,67, compared to countries like Costa Rica at 11,90, the Bahamas at 28,40 and Brazil at 29,53. If we compare Panama murder rates per 100000 to murder RATES in some of the major American cities, these are Baltimore 55.48, Detroit 40, New Orleans 40, and Miami at 11 (2018).

According to the US Department of State Travel Advisory, Panama is described as level 1: exercise normal precautions.

Safety across Panama City

As with all major cities worldwide, there are some less safe areas in Panama City as well. In general, it is safe to walk around at night in Panama City and David and many other cities and areas in Panama. Some areas in Panama City should be avoided but downtown is extremely safe. This is also the advice of Lonely Planet and other relatively objective travel publications.

According to the yearly Global Retirement Ranking, as published by International Living, Panama is the best country to retire WORLDWIDE and has consistently ranked among the best places to retire worldwide during the last 10 years. If Panama was unsafe, this would surely not be the case.

In general, we can advise everybody that chooses to emigrate or retire in Panama that Panama has a normal level of safety.