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April 2004 Vol. 19, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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More on Theft in Bonaire

from the April, 2004 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

We have reported on crime in Bonaire, mainly cars getting ransacked, but reader Bob Sills reports a new twist:

"My rental car was parked under a bright light adjacent to my lodging, and I walked out one morning to find the left rear wheel missing. The thieves thoughtfully left the lug nuts under a nearby shrub. Although I had purchased insurance, the value of the wheel was less than the $300 deductible, which is just high enough to exclude common occurrences such as a broken window, severed gas line, or stolen wheel. So I was stuck with the cost. Since there is no cost to the rental car companies, they have little incentive to fight the problem."

(Editor's note: On Bonaire, Budget charges $11/day for theft, with a $300 deductible; Hertz charges $10/day with a $500 deductible. The insurance that accompanies your credit card or your personal automobile insurance may cover the deductible, if well documented.)

Peter Lubin wrote us that his sons left gear out to dry overnight on the veranda of his ground floor room at Captain Don's, well inside the resort, and thieves took much of it. A hotel employee told him that it was "probably donkey theft."

"Well, they do have wild donkeys, and my sons should be smarter than to leave stuff out, but the 'donkeys stole the gear' and 'tough luck' are not good answers."

Bob and Carolyn Smith (Fall River, MA) write: "As usual, we had to be careful regarding petty theft while diving. While shore diving, we brought nothing with us that we would not want stolen and left the windows down. Thievery is a real problem on the island, and although the dive operators are up in arms about it, the police are not cooperative."

Says Tom Daly (Oveida, FL): "Crime is a pervasive and chronic problem on Bonaire. Funny, the words of wisdom from fellow divers always say to leave nothing of value in your vehicle, leave it unlocked, expect your fuel to be stolen, fuel line to be cut, etc. It sounds like this advice is only helping to perpetuate the problem. If we leave vehicles open, it is an open invitation for the thieves to rummage through the vehicle in hopes of finding something left behind. I will not go to Bonaire and spend a single cent of my dive money there until I read that the police there, who obviously are complicit with the thieves or just will not do anything about them, have solved the crime problem against the tourists. If as a group we divers were to boycott Bonaire, the businesses there would certainly be pressuring the government to take care of it. Until then, I'll do my diving in crime free environments, like Saba."

- Ben Davison

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