Security Alert: Semana Santa Reminder-Personal and Driver Safety

Security Alert: U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Location: Countrywide

Event: Semana Santa Reminder – Personal and Driving Safety

As people travel throughout Honduras during Semana Santa, driving conditions will be more hazardous due to increased vehicular traffic.  Additionally, increased police presence and check points will affect vehicle traffic throughout Honduras.  U.S. citizens should prepare accordingly.

In general, crime tends to rise slightly around holidays.  U.S. citizens may be targeted by criminals for appearing to be more affluent than others.  The best way to avoid being a target is to be aware of your environment and use common sense.  Employing the following recommendations judiciously will reduce the chance that you will become a victim of crime.

Actions to Take: 

General Personal Security Tips

  • Trust your instincts. If something does not seem right, it probably isn’t.
  • Keep a low personal profile.
  • Be alert to your surroundings.
  • Avoid dark and deserted areas.
  • Cell phones are favorite targets of criminals, so keep them concealed as much as possible.  If you need to use one in public, put your back to the wall to maintain better situational awareness.
  • Do not flash cash in public or carry a lot of money or credit cards.  Carry only that which you are willing to lose.
  • Do not wear expensive or flashy jewelry.
  • Be aware of increased vulnerability after using alcohol.
  • Do not go out alone, especially at night.  Always travel in numbers.
  • Know nearby safe areas:  hotels, malls, and gas stations.  A good safe area has lighting, security, telephones, food, and bathrooms.
  • Be alert for possible criminal surveillance near your residence, workplace, and places you visit on a regular basis.  Look for parked occupied vehicles or strange pedestrians, etc.
  • Vary your routes to work and home, and other places you visit on a regular basis.
  • Criminals can be predictable and typically display behavior that may give away their intentions:
  • Excessive or prolonged eye contact.
  • People who appear to approach you deliberately.  They move (with you) when you do.
  • Predatory movements such as circling, splitting up, and trying to get behind you.
  • Distractions, either verbal or physical such as being bumped.

Security Tips for Driving

  • Keep your door locks engaged and windows rolled up at all times.
  • Select well-traveled streets when possible.
  • Avoid trips to remote areas, especially after dark.
  • Try to travel during off-peak hours, when possible.
  • Pre-plan your route and know at least one alternate route.
  • Keep your vehicle well maintained, have a good spare tire, and with at least a half tank of gas.
  • Be alert to road conditions and surroundings, to include possible surveillance by car, motorcycle, or bicycle.  All passengers should be vigilant.
  • Remain a safe distance behind the vehicle ahead to allow space for avoidance maneuvers.
  • Drive near the center of the road to avoid being forced off the road.
  • Never drive a maid home as most live in unsafe areas for foreign visitors.  Only offer transport as far as a bus or taxi stop.
  • Do not accept gifts, packages, or rides from strangers.
  • Be alert for two men on a motorcycle that are not obvious fast food delivery persons.  All should be considered armed and dangerous until proven otherwise.
  • Do not lower your guard because armed security is present – they are not always reliable.
  • If you must use an ATM, use one inside a safe place such as a bank, hotel, or mall, and be cognizant of your surroundings.

When Parking Your Car

  • Be alert for suspicious persons near your vehicle.
  • When possible, park near the entrance to stores or restaurants or near guard posts.
  • Avoid parking in isolated or dark areas.  Do not leave briefcases, pocketbooks, or other valuables unattended while parked.  Secure them under a seat or in the trunk.
  • Never enter a car without checking the rear seat to ensure it is empty.