Do you have any theories on why this area is getting worse compared to the mainland? I'm sure the politics effecting the tourism isn't helping as you said. Other factors?
When compared to the mainland, it is still VERY tame. The security situation on the mainland has been in a steady decline for as long as I have been involved with Honduras. It has ebbs and flows, but the track is still in a negative direction. I didn't mean to infer that the island is crashing at a faster rate. It is just crashing at a rate not seen on the island....if that makes any sense.
There are probably multiple reasons for things going downhill on the island. Among the possibilities:
-Lack of adequate law enforcement and real consequence (arrest and conviction).
-Cops are rotated on and off the island, not many cops actually call the island "home" for very long.
-Influx of mainlanders looking for work and bringing some mainland bad criminal elements with them. If they can't find work on the island, some folks "turn to the dark side"
-Economy crashing due to global economic down turn as well as current political strife. Poor economy has always resulted in increase in crime
-Drug transport is alive and well, some bad elements are involved in that (this hits Utila a lot more than Roatan, but Roatan has its fair share) and they exert their influence on the island
-One thing that has to be considered is the behavior and attitudes of many of the victims of previous expat homicides. A lot of them were engaged in shady business deals or had personality traits that led to them crossing the wrong people. There are explanations for many of them ending up 6 feet under. Not excuses for killing someone, but explanations that make sense on how someone would get killed. These homicides would have been preventable if people would have behaved themselves a little better or a little differently
-I'm sure there's lots more
One result of the most recent expat murder, however, is an improvement in the expat community developing a crime watch network. Just a couple of days ago, a robbery/home invasion was prevented because a tip was posted online. The victim-to-be was notified and was waiting and fended off 6-8 would-be attackers the second they crossed his property line. The communication and relationship with island cops has also moved to a much better level.
Nothing will make it "paradise" like the brochures say, but if the islanders take control of the situation, they can stop the trend and stabilize things. Until it turns around, I will be keeping my eyes and ears open at all times. I'm still leaving the body armor at home when on the island though, I just use that in some areas on the mainland. The resort areas are still more likely to primarily have petty crimes, and not so violent crimes, as problems, but the area where our clinic is is where many of the bad guys live so our travel into and out of the red zone calls for diligence.
In the case of the Canadian being shot, the rumormill is out of control with theories and accusations, but I have found that you can't believe anything for a couple of weeks. We'll see how this incident plays out.