Following is the latest message from the U.S. Embassy in Panama City.
The U.S. Embassy in Panama City reminds U.S. citizens that as the Carnival holiday approaches in Panama next week, there are several precautions U.S. citizens in Panama may take in order to ensure a safe and secure holiday.Crime and SafetyAs you are out and about enjoying the festivities, please remember that criminals are also out and about looking for targets. Unfortunately, there is always an increase in thefts and robberies during holidays. Please make sure you are not making yourself an easy target:· Be aware of your surroundings and watch for suspicious activity that indicates you are being targeted. If you note suspicious behavior, go somewhere safe, such as inside a store or mall and point out the person you are concerned about to security personnel.· Keep control of your purses, wallets, passports, and other belongings.· Be mindful that disturbances such as loud arguments, people bumping into you, or people dropping things near you may actually be used as distractions to allow someone to steal from you. Ensure you still have everything after someone bumps into you.· If you are the victim of a crime, please make sure you report it immediately to the local Panamanian authorities so that they can begin their investigation.· If you need to replace a lost or stolen passport, you may come to the embassy during our regular workday to purchase a replacement. The embassy will be closed Friday, February 8 in the afternoon, the weekend and on Tuesday, February 12 only. Regular hours are 8:00 -12:30 and 1:30 to 3:00 on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and 8:00-12:00 on Wednesday and Friday. Appointments may be made on line and are appreciated.For updated information on the security situation in Panama, please contact the American Citizen Services Unit of the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy at (011)-507-317-5030. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy is located in Clayton, Building 783, in the Clayton section of Panama. The Embassy web site is http://panama.usembassy.gov/ and e-mails should be addressed toPanama-ACS@state.gov. The after-hours and emergency phone number is (011)-507-317-5000.
For up-to-date information on security, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov. Further information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Panama are encouraged to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in case of an emergency.