It was not that long ago AARP listed Belize as one of the best places to retire abroad. They made it sound so inviting. Fast track to citizenship and the wonderful description. Heck, not long after that Leonardo Dicaprio bought an island there. I have personally spoken with people in the north of 50 crowd who were actively looking at retiring in Belize.
Some months ago, back when LinkedIn still had a microscopic bit of relevance in the known universe, I ran into a journalist/author/investigative reporter. When I mentioned something about Belize she piped up that she now lived somewhere in Mexico. Her community of ex-pats all had some horrible story about Belize. Shake downs, robberies, etc. The description made it sound worse than the most fictional account of Dodge City in any given western.
Now, I will be the first to admit that when I looked into her career a bit and given where many of her writings appeared, I took the stories with significantly more than a grain of salt. I mean, I liked watching The X-Files when it first aired, but . . . not exactly a world I wish to live in.
Reality Came Home to Roost
That all kind of changed when ABC News announced the murder of Anne Swaney. It wasn’t just that a woman on vacation was murdered, it was the comment by police in one of the news reports stating it was not uncommon for people to hop across the border with Guatemala, commit a crime, then hop back. The math just didn’t add up, so, while writing this I went poking around.
According to our government’s 2013 crime report there were 145 murders in Belize during 2012. Admittedly the numbers don’t look as bad as Chicago right now, but, in all fairness, I don’t hear people talking about Chicago being a great place to retire.