U.S. Embassy In Colombia Issues Travel Warning Reminder Over Continued Crime

Authorities have issued a cautionary notice to foreign visitors regarding the recent spike in robberies, notably in Bogotá, targeting over a dozen restaurants and commercial establishments.

Under the title “Security Alert: A Reminder of the Ongoing Risk of Crime in Colombia,” the U.S. government outlines a range of safety measures should individuals fall victim to criminal incidents.

Recently, robberies conducted by armed individuals, have occurred in popular Bogota restaurants, cafés, and breweries, frequented by tourists and the expat community,” reads the statement inked by the U.S. embassy. 

There is currently an alert level 3, meaning Americans should “reconsider traveling to Colombia.” An update issued on January 2, 2024, elevated Arauca, Cauca, and Norte de Santander to the “Do Not Travel” level due to the “risk of kidnapping, crime, and terrorism.”

Additionally, the embassy encouraged Americans to take steps to enhance their safety, such as avoiding the use of dating apps (more on this later) and actively seeking cover and protection in the event of a shooting.

Regarding terrorism, the U.S. government says criminal groups may target “transportation hubs, markets, local government facilities, police stations, military facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, airports, and U.S. government facilities.”

Refrain from Using Dating Apps

A security alert about eight suspicious U.S. citizen deaths in Medellin, recorded between November 1 and December 31, 2023, was also issued by the U.S. embassy last month.

These Americans were allegedly drugged, robbed, and overdosed to death by their Tinder dates.

In accordance with the Medellin District Personnel Tourism Observatory, criminals have been using dating apps, particularly Tinder, as a means to identify potential victims. 

Typically, victims engage -for a few days and even weeks- in online chats with their soon-to-be perpetrators, often attractive Medellin, Cartagena, or Bogotá women. After arranging to meet at a public restaurant or bar, victims may find themselves drugged, robbed and sometimes murdered, either by leaving their drinks unattended or by inviting their dates back to their accommodations.

The local government is set to meet up with dating app representatives to find ways to make dating apps safe again. 

How to Stay Safe When in Colombia

Thus, is it still feasible to travel to Colombia safely? It is but you should follow the advice of the embassy. To begin with, you need to: 

  • Exercise caution when walking or driving after dark. Stay vigilant when entering or leaving buildings.
  • Avoid flaunting signs of affluence, such as expensive jewelry or watches.
  • Minimize the use of your mobile phone in public, particularly on the streets.
  • Carry only the necessary amount of cash and credit cards for your daily needs.
  • Do not resist if confronted with a robbery attempt.
  • Develop a personal security strategy.
  • Refrain from divulging excessive personal information to strangers.

With this latest security update, the entire nation is on the verge of alert four, meaning that Americans would be strongly advised to fully forego any consideration of visiting Colombia.