Theft is the primary concern for foreign visitors in the Dominican Republic. Petty theft is a problem in crowded areas such as bus stations or outside markets. Crime rates are moderately higher in Bavaro and Macao, compared to Punta Cana. There is an increased risk of petty crime in beach areas, as many travelers leave belongings unattended on the shore. Thieves on motorcycles are known to conduct snatch and grabs involving pedestrians walking on the street, or stationary vehicles when held at traffic lights or road junctions.
Violent crime in large cities, including Santo Domingo, is common. Criminals are not afraid to use violence, and in the past have conducted armed muggings. Assault and sexual aggression against travelers, including at beach resorts, has been reported in recent years. In some cases, hotel employees or fellow guests have been implicated.
Driving in the Dominican Republic is a moderate risk. Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs) are frequent and a result of poor road discipline, a lack of enforced traffic laws, driving while under the influence and inadequately maintained vehicles. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that over half of RTCs deaths in the Dominican Republic were those on motorcycles or scooters.