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Many have expressed concern about news reports regarding crime in Puerto Rico. The fact is that there is crime everywhere in the modern world including Puerto Rico, but unlike many other Caribbean vacation destinations, there has never been crime specifically directed toward tourists who vacation in Puerto Rico. Most of the crime on the island occurs in and around the San Juan Metro area which has a population of over 2 million people and most of that crime is directly or indirectly related to the illegal drug industry. The other larger cities of Ponce and Mayaguez are also affected to a lesser degree. So if one is not directly involved in this activity or in the use of illegal drugs, you need not be unduly worried. The tourist zones in Puerto Rico are safe and a police presence is visible. Old San Juan, in particular, is very safe and the fact that the governor's mansion is in the midst of the seven square block city is reason enough. As with any large city in the United States, one should excercise prudence and avoid wandering into unknown areas of the city, especially at night and one should not leave valuables visible inside a parked rental car.
Traveling out on the island away from the large Metro area provides one with a more cultural and scenic view of Puerto Rico. The smaller towns are quaint, picturesque and free of much of the crime of the San Juan Metro area. It's perfectly safe to rent a car and travel out on the island, but it's best to stay on the major routes, as many of the smaller paved roads are not as well marked and tend to receive less maintenance. So get out there and enjoy all that Puerto Rico has to offer!
Vieques is a beautiful island with the largest nature preserve in the Caribbean containing within its perimeter some of the best undeveloped white sand beaches in Puerto Rico. Vieques is generally safe, but unfortunately, there have been car-related thefts at the beaches inside the nature preserve which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Petty thieves have targeted rental vehicles parked at the nature preserve beaches. It's best not to leave any valuables in a rental vehicle. Most of the rental car companies encourage clients to leave the vehicle doors open to avoid a broken windows. The thieves just want valuables, not the car. Also avoid leaving any valuables on a towel on the beach unsupervised as they have been targeted also. Use common sense as you would at any place you are unfamiliar with and you will enjoy your stay in Vieques. Enjoy!