Among the largest cities in Ecuador, Cuenca is considered the safest. Petty theft and vandalism do exist, though. Unfortunately, crime is up from last year. This may be due to the conditions left by Covid-19.
Cuenca’s population is roughly half a million. The growing number of crimes in Cuenca this year are 5 domestic abuse incidents resulting in death, and other violent deaths numbering 21. These murders log in at almost 6 per 100,000 people. This compares favorably with the murder rate in the United States. Search out any major US city and you will find the rates much higher.
So, is Cuenca safe? Well, yes and no. Based on the numbers just cited, the answer is yes. However, smaller crimes do exist. As you would in any city, you must be cautious and observing wherever you are. Physical and verbal attacks are low; attacks based on religion, gender, nationality and skin color are particularly low. Because of these low crime rates, Cuenca has a safety rating of 78 during the day and a moderate 45 at night.
Large crimes are usually drug related. Drugs passing through Ecuador are far more prevalent than drugs originating in Ecuador. If you are not involved in the drug scene here, you will be relatively safe. The good news is Ecuador’s national government has made drug trafficking one of its major priorities. The bad news is the country simply doesn’t have enough personnel or money to adequately enforce this priority.
Cuenca, on the other hand, is working hard to keep its city even safer. The locals have always been the focal point for providing safety by the police. Since tourism is a large element in the makeup of Cuenca, a newly instituted team of 31 multilingual tourism police have been put into place. Twenty-nine of these are on duty every day, focusing on the tourist locales.
Most of these officers are on foot, which allows tourists to easily approach them for any help they need. They have even been known to climb the steps the the Cathedral tower to protect any tourists there. Some officers have been given bicycles for greater mobility and wider coverage. These officers are on duty 7 days a week. “I believe this program will expand,” said Fernando Aguirre Cordero, former local province governor and politician. “The idea is to have more police officers. This is the best way to make tourists to feel safe as they travel around the country, including Cuenca.”
Fact: Ecuador is the only country in the world named after a geographical feature (the Equator)
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