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Medellin Security

 
infosecurity

General Security Advice

You could write a book about security in Colombia. It’s a hotly debated topic, and for good reason. It’s important. But it’s also misunderstood. Colombia is a violent and dangerous country. But so is the United States. Medellin is a dangerous city, but so is Detroit. In fact, the crime rate of Medellin is very similar to large American cities.

 

And like in most large American cities the vast majority of violent crime happens in the poorest neighborhoods, and the victims are local. That being said there are a few good guidelines that you would be well advised to follow.

 

In the city you are generally going to follow normal urban procedures and protocol, think like you would in any large city. Going cross country on the other hand is a different matter. You shouldn’t just wander around Colombia, it’s not always safe. And you don’t know where is and where isn’t.

 

In town, Poblado and Laureles are generally safe areas to be in day or evening. But be very aware of your surroundings at all times. El Centro is generally safe during the day, but visitors should not be there unattended at night.

 

You should not go into marginal or depressed areas at all without professional guides or attendants who know what they’re doing, and where they’re taking you. Never wear expensive jewelry or watches in the city. Especially hanging out a cab window in traffic.

 

Never carry or show large amounts of cash, or expensive cell phones. Ever. Call for a cab instead of hailing one when you can.

 

Common Security Problems

If you’re going to have a problem in Medellin what would it most likely be, and how would it happen? I will give you four of the most common issues:

 

1) The first and most likely is a swap of cash you hand a taxi driver. He will tell you that you gave him the wrong amount and ask for more, or he will hand you back one of your bills and tell you it’s fake and he wants a real one, when he palmed yours and handed you a fake he had ready.

 

2) The second is a simple theft of items from someplace like your hotel room, or pickpockets. You will not know about this until later.

 

3) The third is the more serious and what most people fear. And it does happen. Armed Robbery. If you are robbed, it will probably be on the street and at gunpoint by two to four young men, possibly just off waiting motorcycles. You will be jostled a bit and threatened. They will take your valuables, all your cash, your cell phone, and whatever else they see.

 

It will be violent and threatening, but usually not causing you real damage unless you fight them. It will be over very quickly and you usually will lose nothing more than your items, and your pride.

 

You will probably not be hurt if you don’t fight. If you do fight them, just know it will probably not bother them much to stab you or shoot you. Violence is not a problem for these people.

 

4) Fourth is one no one thinks about until they’ve been to Medellin and heard stories. Scopolomine (or Burunganda) is a drug that causes it’s victims to lose their will to resist. People are robbed, often of everything they have, by the thief who is usually with them in their apartment by that point. It is most often given in a drink.

 

The most common scenario is when a foreign tourist is picked up in a bar by a beautiful woman, who slips him the drug. She then suggests they go to the ATM, or back to his apartment, which he agrees to in his altered state.

 

She then steals everything of value, often letting a whole crew of associates in to help, and they leave. The victim wakes up, often a day or two later with only vague memories of anything. Be careful who you allow to pick you up.

Category: Info

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