BECA takes our volunteers’ safety very seriously and we do our best to provide sound, up-to-the-minute advice regarding issues of safety and security. We rely heavily on our local partners, families, and community members to inform our decisions regarding safety as well as other organizations who operate in Honduras.
BECA volunteers should always be aware that they are living and working as a foreigner in a developing nation that has higher rates of crime than do industrialized nations. Sadly, poverty, drugs, and gangs are major contributing factors to crime and the country’s weak rule of law and rampant corruption do not act as a strong deterrent. Therefore, we urge all of our volunteers to be conservative in their movements, thoughts, and actions and to always exercise caution and prudence in their everyday life in Honduras. Like anyone traveling to a new place, volunteers should never carry large amounts of money, nor should they flaunt valuables, dress provocatively, or wear expensive jewelry that might draw attention. Additionally, volunteers should vary their routines to ensure they are not targeted over time.
In keeping with our principle of always encouraging an abundance of caution, we do not recommend walking around the communities where we work after 8pm. If you find yourself in a situation requiring that you are out after 8pm, please ensure that you notify your housemates or the In-Country Director, are accompanied by someone else, and carry nothing of significant value (i.e. laptops, passports).
Unlike the Peace Corp., our volunteers live together in intentional community where BECA and our local partner organizations have had a presence for over 16 years. We are know in our communities and those deep relationships offer a level of protection for all of our volunteers. However, there are parts of our communities that should be avoided especially at night or if you are by yourself. Special attention will be given during the safety orientation once you arrive in country to outline what areas are considered safe or unsafe at different times of the day and night.
Unlike our communities, San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa are big cities where you are much more anonymous. As is the case with any big city in the world, you should take great care when visiting neighborhoods outside of the main commercial district and avoid travel at night, especially to parts of the city with which you are not familiar. Much of the violence in Honduras is gang or drug-related and therefore should not affect you, but always be aware of your surroundings and show an abundance of caution. The most common security incident for a foreigner is robbery, and we will outline ways to minimize the risk of robbery during our safety orientation.
We strongly advise that if you must visit San Pedro Sula at night, you take a known taxi. You should not walk anywhere in San Pedro after dark, even in a big group. It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you are planning a late night out, taxi is the only means of return transportation from San Pedro Sula after 9:00pm.