Ecuador Crime and Politics

Ecuador Crime and Politics

Recently a read sent me this note:

“Dear Gary, I’ve been getting your Ecuadorian slices of life and really appreciate the info, and sincerity, of the work. My wife flies international for AA and met an international real estate investor who told her Quito , Ecuador would be a great place to invest when my wife mentioned Costa Rica . Apprently, he thought most of the low hanging fruit was pretty much gone out yonder there, but not so for Quito –double your money in two to three years. Then my brother-in-law, a heart surgeon in L.A. , was at a medical convention and met a man who lives in Quito , who, told him how bad the crime is in Ecuador , and that there’s folks who’ll kill for your sandals. What do you think about the crime over there? Sincerely”

My reply may help people enhance their safety when traveling to Ecuador or anywhere for that matter. I wrote:

“I have not looked at statistics, but like everywhere know that some areas of the country have crime and others not…there are some areas of Quito also which we avoid. Personally Merri and I have never had a single problem in 13 years. Of course as regular travelers we have learned how to be aware when in areas that are likely to attract thieves. The only place where we have ever been robbed was in our home in Naples Florida , broad daylight on a Sunday (I caught the burglar and stupidly chased him from the house with a pointed paint brush.) The thief escaped.

Plus twice in London we were robbed. Once we relaxed our guard in an expensive West End cappuccino shop as we were Christmas shopping. We never knew what happened until we saw the packages were gone.

Another time a thief walked right into our London office and was rumbling through our desks. The thief knocked our staff member who caught him and again we stupidly chased the thief. This time we trapped him when he climbed into a garbage bin to hide. The Bobbies picked him up with contents from our desks in his possession. We lost the contents as evidence and to the best of our knowledge they never prosecuted the guy.

Certainly the village of Cotacachi , where we live seems safe day and night. Children stroll the streets at all times.

A few of our clients in this last decade have had their bags grabbed in the tourist markets of Ecuador , but so too have they in Europe as well as the US . We have never had any robbery or such thing in the village where we live though we know for example that the condos where our readers are living should have a night watch man because all the residents are gringos and often no one is there.

Overall we feel safer in Cotacachi then here in the Blue Ridge where there are many meth problems and people on drugs (or needing them) and can often be dangerous and crazy. I keep a loaded shotgun under my bed up here but feel no need of such protection in Ecuador .

Generally Ecuadorians are very peaceful people. Certainly you do not burn cars and riot as they do in Paris .

We definitely had more realistic fear for the safety of our delegates that came to our US seminars in Naples and traveled in rented cars via Miami . At one point robbers were literally crashing into people on the freeway to get them to stop so they could be robbed on the Miami freeways. In one case when some tourists did not stop, the robbers simply shot and killed the driver to be mean. Nothing like that happens in Ecuador .

Overall I would suggest that the rules of safety in Ecuador are pretty much the same as else where:

1: Pick the neighborhood where you’ll be most of the time carefully.

2: Don’t act in ways that attract the wrong type attention such as display wealth. For example in Miami rental cars used to have special tags and if you drove a rental car out of Miami it screamed “TOURIST WITH MONEY.” IN the tourist part of Quito if you walk around with a suitcase or a backpack it says the same thing.

#3: Avoid areas where there is crime.

Of course crime cannot always be avoided. A couple of weeks ago, in Lakeland Florida , in the seemingly safest of suburbs our daughter’s purse was snatched by a look alike stalker. The female stalker immediately wrote and cashed a number of checks plus picked up a batch of WalMart gift certificates. The bank teller said the thief looked just like our daughter. In all they got nearly $5,000 (though none of this cost my daughter a thing other than the aggravation of getting new cards, drivers license, etc.). Both WalMart and the bank have the criminal on video but the police did not even look saying they just do not have the man power to follow up on stuff like this. Where did she get robbed? In a good neighborhood in front of the church.

So where there is people there is crime.

Plus if you are in a tourist area that attracts pickpockets and such there are some things you can do. Steve, our man in Ecuador recently sent me a note about this. He wrote:

“Hi Gary and Merri, My thoughts since our delegate was robbed in the La Mariscal district of Quito is that it would be a shame to tell all people to miss out on this area with so many attractions and great restaurants. Instead perhaps they should be told to take extreme care and be given a set of guidelines such as:

  1. Take taxis everywhere at night and during the day if you are going to a new address
  2. Never let go of your bags or entrust them to anyone else unless you know that person
  3. Never let go of your valuables bag in a public place of any kind including buses and restaurants
  4. Better still don’t go out with more than you intend to spend – in most cases less than $40 and nearly always less than $100.
  5. Never take your passport out with you – take two copies of your passport and take a copy out with you.
  6. Never take more than one credit card with you. Why take 3 or 4 cards?
  7. Always have your camera strapped around your wrist or neck
  8. Avoid wearing fancy jewelry or watches
  9. Avoid wearing fancy clothing out unless going to a fancy place – and then go by taxi
  10. Do not daydream at any time. Stay relaxed but alert.

“I know La Mariscal is infested with scammers but with common sense (that our delegate did not apply) and following these rules would mean that every case I know of anyone being robbed or pickpocketed WOULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED. Steve.”

These are good tips to use when you travel anywhere. So this summer if you are moving around I hope these tips help you find fun filled adventure …the good kind.


One reason people are vulnerable to pickpockets in the market are the endless variety of interesting things that capture people’s attention. Here are plates for sale at one Ecuador market stall


Here is our schedule of Ecuadorian courses for the balance of 2007.

July 17 – July 22, Tues. – Sun. Import-Export Course.

Sept. 26 – 30, Weds. – Sun. Condensed Super Thinking + Spanish with Free Oct

1 – Mon. Andes Extension & Real Estate Tour.

Nov. 9 – 11, Fri. – Sun. International Business & Investing Made EZ.

Nov. 12 – 14, Mon. – Weds. Andes Extension & Real Estate Tour.

Nov. 16 – 18, Fri. – Sun. Andean Shamanic Tour.