From a Boquete blog:
Caesar Sherrard one of the founders of Alto al Crimen in Boquete spoke about the increasing crime problem in Boquete.
Caesar made his point that the driver on increased crime in the increased cost of living without commensurate increase in salaries. When people earning $16 a day cannot afford to house and feed their families, some will resort to any means to do fulfill the need.
Boquete has a small police force which has about 15 officers on patrol for the entire district, and that is to cover 24 hours a day seven days a week. So maybe five on the street at any one time. The population according to the 2010 census was 22,435.The district covers a total area of 488,4 km². Those police paid about $690 a month in wages try to do the best they can with one patrol car and occasional motorcycle support. They cannot prevent crime, they have a difficult time investigating crime.
Before you start asking for more police think about how much tax revenue the government earns from you.
Crime in Boquete is mostly amateur, now a bit enhanced by some gangs from David using the new highway that makes escape easier and faster than before. The solution to crime in Boquete is not the police. The solution is a smart population and proactive preparation. The message is be a hard target.
Most crimes here are crimes of opportunity, theft of visible high value items through open windows, unlocked doors or penetration by local workers who observe patterns of availability. Caesar made the point that most neighborhoods here, unlike the US and Canada are economically mixed. You might have a home that cost $200,00 built next to a tin shack. This economic disparity coupled with television sold examples of the good life motivates crimes.
There have been a few high profile home invasions here and in Volcan. These are usually groups of armed men who beat their victims. Sometimes they are caught, sometimes prosecuted, sometimes convicted and sometimes jailed. None of this helps the victims.
The solution is to harden your home. There is a reason even poor locals have bars on their windows and doors. There is a reason even poor locals have dogs and fences. The defense perimeter of your house is your fence. No one should be allowed into your fence without permission. Alarms, dogs, bars, automatic flood lights and fences are all perimeter defenses that make your home a hard target, unless you have been targeted the bad guys will pass you up for something easier.
The vocal advice from Caesar was, you are not in Kansas anymore. Unless you are willing to secure your own home you should leave now before you become a victim and statistic.
Discussion went on to the questions of guns and laws about guns in Panama, again this is not Kansas. You need a license to own a gun and then you need to find a gun. Panama is not currently importing guns so legal guns are expensive and need to be resale from another licensed gun owner.
Bottom line is you and you alone are responsible to secure your home and protect yourself. The police cannot protect you, even if they capture the perpetrators it will not undo the crime and terror of being violated.