When foreigners are inquiring about retiring to the Philippines, they are often given two fallacies about crime in the country. The first myth is that it is open season on all foreigners and every foreigner will be robbed or murdered at some point. The second myth is that all Filipinos are warm, friendly people and they would never bother a foreigner. The truth is that there is a possibility that one who retires to the Philippines could become a crime victim and there are some really bad people in the Philippines, same as in every other country in the world.
There are a number of ways to lessen the chance of a foreigner becoming a crime victim in the Philippines. The first one is very simple but also very important and that is in choosing the location where they wish to retire in the Islands of Paradise. Metro Manila and Cebu City are notorious for having high crime rates and it is true. However, both Metro Manila and Cebu City are very large cities and there are a number of safe neighborhoods in both cities. The mid size cities, such as Bacolod City and Iloilo, have crime but not on the magnitude of the larger cities of the Philippines. Both these cities are safe in most areas.
The people you associate with in the Philippines also comes into play about putting yourself at risk. Most Filipinos are warm, friendly people, however, there are many scams, con games and hustles going down every day and some foreigners fall prey to a beautiful smile and a sexy body. If you are single and looking for a beautiful Filipina to hopefully begin a relationship, there are many places to meet a very beautiful and respectful lady. For the most part, the bars are not the place to begin your search.
One of the first things that foreigners notice when they arrive in the Philippines is the presence of many security guards. Security guards are everywhere! At the entrance to all the shopping malls are security guards with a hand held metal detector. They inspect bags and do a pat down around the waist area. In the Golden Field Area of Bacolod City, which is one of the local tourist hangouts, one will see a number of security guards on the streets, armed with short barrel pump 12 gauge shotguns.
While living in the Philippines, it is my personal philosophy to do as the Filipinos do, as much as possible. Other than the native nipa huts, I have not seen many houses where anyone can walk right on the property and right up to the front door. Most homes have a wall around their property with a locked gate and the homes have bars on the doors and windows. Most Filipino home owners have several dogs on their property. We have a pit bull and a Belgian Malinois but neither dog is a trained attack dog. However, we do not allow them to get people-friendly with those outside our immediate family.
Many Filipinos have a love for guns, which is very similar to what many Americans hold. The Philippines grants the right to its citizens to buy a firearm for protection. The PNP, Philippine National Police, approves firearm licenses for home protection and for carrying the firearm outside the home. A strict background check is enforced on the firearm buyers. A foreign national in the Philippines does not have the right to buy a firearm or be approved for a firearm license, however, the Philippines citizen spouse of the foreign national does have that right.
Target shooting is a popular hobby in the Philippines and the Philippines President, Noynoy Aquino, is a gun owner who is an expert marksman. Some firing ranges allow foreigners to rent their firearms and enjoy target shooting but the firearm is not allowed to leave the firing range.
I feel much safer in the Bacolod Area of the Philippines than I did when I lived in south Florida in the States. Its record speaks for itself in that Bacolod City is one of the safest, cleanest, greenest cities in the Philippines, however, there are also other cities in the country which match up fairly well to where we live. Yes, you can go out and go out often. My family and I go out and we really enjoy our life in the Philippines. For the past 27 years, I have read the stories of foreigners being murdered in the Philippines. It is very rare that a foreigner has been randomly murdered just because he is a foreigner. In the Philippines newspapers, the murder of foreigners is reported, however, rarely is there a follow up story unless it is a high profile case. Most of the murdered foreigners that I have followed up on usually involved the foreigner's involvement with shady characters, involvement in a love triangle, dealing with disgruntled business partners or openly being involved in local politics. If you do not get tangled up in any of those situations, you should not have any problems when you retire to the Philippines, concerning becoming a violent crime victim. Come and enjoy the Islands!