Is St. Maarten A Safe Place?

One concern many prospective students have before coming to AUC is whether or not St. Maarten is a safe place to live.

Crime does happen on the island, and for that reason it is a legitimate issue, but I wouldn’t say its worse than any other city in the United States of comparable size. I personally have not had any problems with safety so far, but I do know of the incident this past weekend where three students were mugged outside the casino by the school in broad daylight. Being as touristy as it is, St. Maarten doesn’t look like a dangerous place, but like anywhere you go, crime does happen. I don’t know the details of what happened, but fortunately they were not physically harmed, according to the mass email the school sent out about the incident.

Legally, there is gun control on the island, and possession of a gun, pepper spray, tazers or any other weapon is a felony. However, this may not stop crime, as people can find other creative ways to terrorize or illegally possess the weapons.

If you stay on campus and the surrounding neighborhoods most of the time, you should be pretty safe, as students walk around between them all the time, especially during the daytime. Security guards are around campus, and sheriffs patrol the area around campus at night. Just be aware of who and what’s around you, and make sure there are other fellow students around you if you walk off-campus at night. If you live in the Summit, Cote d’Azure, Aventura, Regency Park or any other apartment down Tigris road and choose to walk home late night, you can take the shortcut that bypasses BB’s, as BB’s has been a target of robberies in the past.

I would also recommend using the school shuttle to get back home at night. Not only is it faster and more convenient, but it is safer. The shuttle is more like a personal shuttle rather than a bus with set routes. The run from 7pm-3am and they park at the guard shack every night. Just hop in and they will take you home.

Everyone here at AUC will tell you that walking through the golf course at night is a big no-no, but I’ve done it before. It wasn’t as scary as I thought, because the street is lit and there are joggers that run through there. But please be aware that incidents have happened there before in the past that makes it a good reason to call a friend or a taxi to give you a ride when going through it late at night. Or like me, visibly carry a conch (preferably one with spines) as a self-defense weapon! jk…

Just take the same precautions and common sense as you would when you are walking around any other city in the States. Out of the places I have lived, I wouldn’t say St. Maarten is as dangerous as parts of Atlanta, St. Louis, or even my hometown of Macon, GA that I’ve seen, but once in a while you do hear about a crime happening to a student.

**UPDATE 7/2010**

  • There is now a sheriff that parks every night at the road junction across from BB’s.
  • The police station in Simpson Bay has been sending armed patrols to patrol Maho, the golf course, and Cupecoy.
  • Apparently, there are voluntary core police officers in rental cars and civilian patrolling the area.
  • There is a new canine unit patrolling the Cupecoy area.
  • UTICA and RES continue to raise awareness about the crime problem on the island.

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