One thing I read over at the SDN also prompted me to want to clear the air a bit. Someone said that reading my blog allayed any fears she had about moving to St. Kitts. She had previously stated some reservations about crime and personal safety.
I want to be clear here; I don't want anyone reading this blog to think that St. Kitts is a land of rainbows* and puppy breath. It can be dangerous living here. The villa that I live in has been broken into three times in the last year. Luckily my apartment was never hit, probably because it has security bars over the windows (the point of entry for all three break ins). But it's still unnerving to know that people with bad intentions were on the property while I slept.
Friends of mine have had their apartments broken into and laptops, iPods, cell phones, cash, etc. stolen. Even places with security bars. Cars are routinely broken into and tires or batteries stolen. My car was broken into the night of one of the villa break ins and searched for cash. All of my visors were flipped down, the compartments opened, etc. The only thing they stole was a hooded sweatshirt and my diving booties.
There is a big drug and gun culture here. When you read about shootings, etc. they typically occur on parts of the island that students don't venture into, but some of them have occurred in town and on "the Strip" - a popular drinking destination for students. My own orientation leader told me never to be on the Strip after the bars closed, because that's when the guns come out. It's never been an issue for me, as I'm not much of a party girl.
The local men can be very flirtatious and persistent. Even letting them know that I'm married doesn't always work, because they'll frequently ask me, "Is he here?" I've never felt threatened by their attempts to pick me up, but if you're not someone who feels confident saying no to people, it could definitely be uncomfortable. I've never heard of or read about a Ross student being raped, though.
So, yeah. I don't want you all to think that St. Kitts is a particularly good or bad place to live. It has its dangers. Common sense can help you avoid some, but not all, of them. Break ins are by far the most common thing to happen to students, and you probably will be the victim of some form of theft at some point as a Ross student.
*Okay, bad analogy. There pretty much is a rainbow every day in St. Kitts. Usually on my way to school in the morning.