According to the Aruba Police, many local vacation rentals are targeted for burglaries by local criminals, even those houses in very good neighborhoods. Not all rental houses are affected, but this is still a widespread problem.
A few years ago, the Aruba Police cracked down and successfully arrested several people involved and recovered some of the stolen property. As of the end of 2008, there has been an upswing in these burglaries, which the police attribute to two factors: (1) a slow local economy in Aruba (tourism is down); and (2) an influx of immigrant labor from poor South American countries, where individuals’ personal backgrounds are not fully known.
Some believe that these homes are targeted from advertising information available on the Internet. Others believe that criminals are being tipped off by individuals having inside information about when these properties are being occupied by renters. This could be property management companies and car rental agencies.
To be fair, there are many rentals available in Aruba that never become a problem and have never been burglarized. However, you need to do your homework on both the prospective property to be rented, and the people/company that you are renting from.
Steps To Protect Yourself
1. The obvious – don’t bring a lot of expensive jewelry or other valuables to Aruba if you can avoid it.
2. Be careful when speaking to strangers about where you are staying. Burglars can be tipped off by anyone you talk to, especially those providing local services for you.
3. Get several references from the agent renting you the property. Make sure these references are current. Ask the agent about any complaints that have been made against them in the past.
4. Do an Internet search on both the property you are renting, and the individual or company renting you the property. Be sure to check Aruba travel forums at the following websites:
5. Be careful when reading responses to message board forums. Some of these people who respond to posts that report bad incidents renting property in Aruba will try to challenge the accuracy of the facts, blame the victim, or otherwise mock or harass the person posting the incident. These responses should usually be ignored as many of them are posted by “trolls” with some sort of bias or interest in the incident, which they invariably fail to disclose. Many of them are believed to be renting homes, condos, or villas in Aruba and have an interest making it appear that there is little or no crime on the island.
6. Call the local Aruba Police Dept. at 297-587-0009 and ask them to look up any records on the address of the property you are considering renting to see if it has been burglarized in the past. Explain to the police that you are interested in renting out the property but have heard that some of these houses are frequent targets of crime. Try to go back at least three years. If the property has been burglarized at least once, consider another property or otherwise staying at a hotel.
7. Ask the rental agent about any history of criminal activity at the property you want to rent. Get a written representation and warranty in your lease that the property has not been the subject of any crime, including break-ins or burglaries, for the past five years. And be sure to include a clause in the lease that says the lessor agrees to the jurisdiction of the courts in your home country for purposes of any legal action related to the lease for breach of contract.
8. Include a clause in the lease agreement entitling you to a full refund of your lease payments, subject to your vacating the property, in the event that the property is broken into or burglarized, or you are robbed or assaulted on the property.
9. Be sure to ask the rental agent about any security features at the property – ie. locks, video cameras, alarms, safes, etc. Be sure to get the alarm code and know how to set and release the alarm
10. When renting a car in Aruba, do not give the actual street address where you are staying. It is believed that some theft rings obtain and use this information to target houses being rented by tourists. Instead, provide the name of a large, well-known hotel as where you will be staying. However, be sure to give the car rental company your actual phone number and email address in case they need to contact you.
11. When you arrive at your vacation rental, be sure to store and lock any valuables immediately. Introduce yourself to the neighbors and ask them to keep an eye on the house when you are gone. Ask them about any past crime in the neighborhood. Check outside the house to make sure no one is surveilling the property. When you leave the house, close and lock all doors and windows and set the alarm (if available).
Properties Previously Burglarized
Again, not every rental house or villa in Aruba is a problem or the target of thieves. However, the following properties have been confirmed by the Aruba Police to have been burglarized in the past. This is not a complete list by any means:
1. “Villa Makai” at Bakval 15I
(info current as of 12/26/2008) According to Officer Kelly at the Division 2 Police Station, this house has been burglarized more than 20 times since 2005. This house is being managed by Anneke Gorter of The Malmok Management Company, N.V. Ms. Gorter manages and leases this property and others from her website at http://www.arubaservices.com as well as other websites she has set up for individual properties. Information about Villa Makai can be found at http://www.villamakai.com. The property is actually owned by an American woman, evidently through some other company. As of 12/20/2008, this house was listed “For Sale” according to a sign posted on the property. To read about a recent incident at this property, click on these links:
(info current as of 1/25/2009) According to Officer Kelly at the Division 2 Police Station, this house has been burglarized twice in 2008 (May and July). This house is also being managed by Anneke Gorter of The Malmok Management Company, N.V. (see info above). Information about this property is available at: http://www.arubarentalhomes.com/coconutvilla/index.htm
This website will be updated from time to time as new information becomes available. If you know of any other rental houses or villas that have been burglarized in the past, please send details to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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