(WJW) – The U.S. Department of State reissued a travel advisory for the Dominican Republic this week, warning travelers to “exercise increased caution” due to the high level of crime in the country.

According to the State Department, concerns include violent crimes such as armed robbery, homicide and sexual assault.

While resort areas tend to be better policed, urban areas like Santo Domingo remain a concern, the government warns.

“The wide availability of weapons, the use and trade of illicit drugs, and a weak criminal justice system contribute to the high level of criminality on the broader scale,” the government stated.

Here’s what is recommended to help protect yourself:

  • If robbed, give up your personal belongings without resistance.
  • Do not carry or wear anything valuable that could attract attention.
  • Be wary of strangers.
  • Travel with a partner or group whenever possible.

Travelers are also advised to be aware of their surroundings and heed safety and security advice from local resort and tour operators.

In addition, the government recommends having a contingency plan for emergencies.

Dominican Today, an English-language newspaper in Santo Domingo, citing a 2022 survey, reported that 66.4% of people in the country believe crime tops the list of most serious problems. Also, 29% of them felt “very afraid” of crime in their neighborhood or community.