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Old 03-05-2016, 11:07 AM   #21
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On a related note, it's a bit unnerving how many non-Americans I meet overseas who are absolutely convinced that the U.S. is the most dangerous place in the world because they routinely see stories about mass shootings and other gun violence in the states.
Whatever these misinformed people are convinced about, they are still wrong, as can be proven by statistics.

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Old 03-05-2016, 11:08 AM   #22
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It's a silly warning that gives the impression of a vastly higher risk than actually exists.
First, the bad thing about a forum is it seems like arguing with the back and forth. I hope you don't take it that way. I've read this forum for years and have enjoyed your posts........Having said that, let's get it on.

With the exception of this line in your post ".....all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations"......which is certainly subjective, what I read seems to be a statement of facts. What inferences are taken from this depends on the reader's age, experiences, travel history, current living arrangement and on and on. How would you write it? Would you make no reference to terrorism at all? I don't mean terrorism in general, I mean as it specifically relates to a country?

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You're far more likely to be injured in an automobile accident on your taxi ride from the Airport than you are to encounter a terrorist event in France and yet no warning exists for this much higher threat.
Because I would assume most people understand accidents can happen anywhere. I guess a country could state the obvious but it would be silly. And it would be negligent for them to ignore recent criminal activity designed to kill multiple citizens in a single event. Had the Paris attack occurred 35 years ago, I would agree with you. But this event happened less than four months ago. You may be willing to rip the band-aid off and declare everything is back to normal but I don't think I am. Not just yet.

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Last I heard the U.S. was also at risk for terrorist attacks. What is anyone supposed to do differently with that information?
It depends. I'll wager that after 9/11 there were some people who changed their travel plans to the US and even in the US. I would imagine those same people have now observed that the United States, to one degree or another, is being responsive to such threats which results in the prevention of criminal acts and potentially the detection and apprehension of terrorists, thus lowering the likelihood of being a victim.

I just don't view these warnings as meaningless or crying wolf. I doubt many travelers even look at them. Spring breakers certainly don't. But I do and I want them to be factual. We're probably smart enough to decipher fact from fiction when they aren't. Those that can't will either blindly march on or stay at home under the chair you keep posting.
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Old 03-05-2016, 11:11 AM   #23
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Here's what the Government of Canada website says about Mexico. There is a travel advisory for the northern states and driving between cities is not recommended at this time.

Travel advice and advisories for Mexico
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Old 03-05-2016, 11:27 AM   #24
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I have an engineer coworker from Monterrey, and he told me he would never drive home to see his family, but only fly. He said it's very common to be stopped on the road a little ways across the border, and a "safe travel insurance" would be demanded. If you don't pay, you risk the consequences further on down the road, he said. I don't know how often this actually happens, but he's convinced the risks are too high.
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Old 03-05-2016, 11:48 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Gone4Good View Post
On a related note, it's a bit unnerving how many non-Americans I meet overseas who are absolutely convinced that the U.S. is the most dangerous place in the world because they routinely see stories about mass shootings and other gun violence in the states.
Well it is in certain areas. New Orleans is the murder capital of the US. The death rate in Chicago exceeds the death rate in all of Mexico. Southside even higher.

I enjoy the drive through northern Mexico (through Nogales), but I would not drive it at night. But I would not drive through Alabama either.
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Old 03-05-2016, 11:48 AM   #26
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I have an engineer coworker from Monterrey, and he told me he would never drive home to see his family, but only fly. He said it's very common to be stopped on the road a little ways across the border, and a "safe travel insurance" would be demanded. If you don't pay, you risk the consequences further on down the road, he said. I don't know how often this actually happens, but he's convinced the risks are too high.
Similar story from our neighbors who have family in Monterrey. They no longer drive to visit for the same reason.
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Old 03-05-2016, 11:50 AM   #27
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There are RV convoys that travel though out Mexico. It's not free but you travel with experienced people and in numbers that add a margin of safety. There are areas more at risk than others, just like the US. I know when I had to travel through Detroit on business, my internal radar was in constant alarm.

Even staying home has risk. My take on travel is to not take foolish risks and to mitigate them as much as possible.

I refuse to live my life in constant fear of the unknown.
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Old 03-05-2016, 11:57 AM   #28
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Well it is in certain areas. New Orleans is the murder capital of the US. The death rate in Chicago exceeds the death rate in all of Mexico. Southside even higher.
...
Now wait a minute, you can't underrate my former hometown! St. Louis wins that highly [not] coveted prize. New Orleans is only third. (Subject to the usual issues with stats--particularly given the fact that STL City Proper has a small geographic footprint, and you "need to include the county" etcetera etcetera...." And these rankings are for cities with over 250,000 people; there are more concentrated pockets out there....)

E.T.A.--Link from Detroit paper celebrating STL's victory: St. Louis overtakes Detroit as nationā€™s murder capital
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Old 03-05-2016, 12:16 PM   #29
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First, the bad thing about a forum is it seems like arguing with the back and forth. I hope you don't take it that way.
No worries.


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What I read seems to be a statement of facts. What inferences are taken from this depends on the reader's age, experiences, travel history, current living arrangement and on and on. How would you write it?
How I'd write travel warnings that are useful for travelers is a good and fair question.

The first thing I'd do is exercise a great deal of editorial discretion in choosing which facts were relevant to highlight for travelers.

A single incident, on a single day, in a single city that resulted in the deaths of 0.002% of the French population is not something I'd choose to highlight as a legitimate risk for travelers to France.

Nor would I highlight that in the U.S. more people die from firearms each week than have died at the hands of terrorists in France since the turn of the century. It's factually accurate. It's also entirely irrelevant to people visiting the U.S. (although it might be useful for American's looking to decrease their risk by spending some time in France

The only things we do by highlighting these kinds of facts and labeling them as "government warning" is overstate their significance and therefore undermine the credibility of all other travel warnings.

I'd similarly avoid highlighting generalized risks that are present everywhere (sorry, but terrorism pretty much fits the bill these days for any major city.) So no warnings about crime either unless the level of crime is particularly elevated.

And if I'm warning about crime, I'm going to want to be specific about what kinds of crime, where it tends to happen, and who are the most likely victims. In Mexico the victims are often people who engage in the drug trade and not tourists.

If there's specific regions or neighborhoods where crime is endemic, then I'd want to convey that specific information as well. And also make sure I highlight if there are areas not similarly effected. Mexico certainly has places that are perfectly safe along with other regions that are not so safe.

Because only with specific, targeted, and relevant information can people actually take actions to protect themselves.
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Old 03-05-2016, 01:09 PM   #30
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In a cab in TJ about 5 years ago, a jeep came alongside us, armed with a machine gun about 7 or 8' long, and manned by Federal police or soldiers or something. I asked the driver if he felt safe in TJ, and he told me most shootings, beheadings (yes, there have been beheadings/mutilations in recent years), and other violence were drug-related. If you stayed away, he said, you were okay.

No way would I drive an RV anywhere in Mexico. In recent years, an American couple were jailed and the wife was raped while in "custody". I recall it was a mess for them, legally and otherwise, due to cover up and them not wanting to release the wife.

Years ago I would have and in fact did drive in Baja. Today I would not. It is a different Mexico.
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Old 03-05-2016, 04:32 PM   #31
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The first thing I'd do is exercise a great deal of editorial discretion in choosing which facts were relevant to highlight for travelers.
You make some very good points. No question. The firearm stat was a nice zing. I'm not taking that bait except to say associating "typical" crime statistics with singular catastrophic terrorist events seems to mix the fruits and nuts a little. I know, you did say later you wouldn't highlight such things after you highlighted them.

If I'm stating your point of view correctly, and taking France as the example, you wouldn't post anything about the terrorist threat as it isn't pertinent to traveler safety because the event itself is statistically insignificant and unlikely to be repeated. Fair enough. I'll concede both of these points. If I go there, I probably won't be shot while attending a concert.

Will my flights be delayed? Will attractions be closed? Will there be a rather large and heavily armed contingent of men and women redirecting local travel and activities? Will that increased law enforcement in one place cause the criminal element to change locations? Perhaps to where I'm staying? Will I be searched at places and times I wouldn't normally be searched? Will public transportation be affected?

I traveled just after 911 and all of these things happened to me. Right here in the US. I'll bet some of this is still happening in France today. If my travel is going to be disrupted in some significant way, can I get a warning? An advisory? A Post It note? Something? Unless I'm not comprehending what you've said, I won't get much warning from your travel advisory office, if any at all. That's fine. I'm all for less government intervention. I certainly don't want my travel decisions controlled by a bureaucrat but you really aren't giving me information to make any decision.
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:29 PM   #32
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Well it is in certain areas. New Orleans is the murder capital of the US. The death rate in Chicago exceeds the death rate in all of Mexico. Southside even higher.

I enjoy the drive through northern Mexico (through Nogales), but I would not drive it at night. But I would not drive through Alabama either.
The average American is not at risk even if they lived in inner city Chicago. The fact is that the vast majority of murders in the US are targeted. I would be more worried about Mexico where much of the crime is predatory in nature, often targeting the perceived haves.
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:42 PM   #33
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The average American is not at risk even if they lived in inner city Chicago. The fact is that the vast majority of murders in the US are targeted. I would be more worried about Mexico where much of the crime is predatory in nature, often targeting the perceived haves.

Do you have stats to back up that claim?


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Old 03-05-2016, 08:19 PM   #34
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I certainly can post the stats but I don't think it's necessary. It's pretty well known that randomly murdering people even in the commission of a crime such as carjacking or robbery is rare in the US. Obviously it does happen like the unfortunate family that was recently killed along with their maid and that family lived in an upscale neighborhood in Northern Virginia but no amount of precaution or avoiding a certain part of town would keep you safe from those type of murders.


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Old 03-05-2016, 08:34 PM   #35
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If my travel is going to be disrupted in some significant way, can I get a warning? An advisory? A Post It note? Something? Unless I'm not comprehending what you've said, I won't get much warning from your travel advisory office, if any at all.
I don't have a problem with the kind of advisory you're discussing. But it doesn't belong under a Safety and Security headline, which is what the State Department advisory is for.

Besides, the best place for that kind of information isn't the State Department. Travel forums like Thorne Tree are great for that kind of stuff. There you can connect with real people on the ground, who are sharing real experiences in real cities in real time.
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Old 03-05-2016, 09:41 PM   #36
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The average American is not at risk even if they lived in inner city Chicago. The fact is that the vast majority of murders in the US are targeted. I would be more worried about Mexico where much of the crime is predatory in nature, often targeting the perceived haves.
On second thought, never mind the source or stats behind your statement here, because I don't understand what you are saying. First you state the majority of US murders are targeted. Then you say that crime in Mexico 'often targets' people.

So we're comparing crime to murders, and we worry more about Mexico crime than US murders. Could I just ask you to clarify what you intended to say? Also, how are you defining 'targeting?'
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Old 03-05-2016, 10:40 PM   #37
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So just out of curiosity I pulled up the murder rate in Mexico and the USA:

Murder rate per million people Mexico: 218.49 USA 42.01

And Canada is about 18 per million.

So go north in your RV, not south.
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Old 03-06-2016, 06:20 AM   #38
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So just out of curiosity I pulled up the murder rate in Mexico and the USA:

Murder rate per million people Mexico: 218.49 USA 42.01

And Canada is about 18 per million.

So go north in your RV, not south.
Where in the world are you getting that number? That Mexico number is more than double the actual rate of the most violent country in the world. Mexico isn't even in the top 10!

These 10 Countries Have The World's Highest Murder Rates

(Source: UN Global Study on Homicide )

EDITED:

I think I found your source, but that number is just wrong. I do see where NationMaster has Mexico listed at 218+ Mexico Crime Stats

That stands in stark contrast to the links I just provided. I think that part of the discrepancy is due to counting murders vs. 'intentional homicides' which seems to be an effort to distinguish between deaths in gun battles between rival cartel groups and/or Federales and what we typically think of when we think of homicide. There are also questions about reporting accuracies, both in Mexico and the U.S.
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Old 03-06-2016, 06:56 AM   #39
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Where in the world are you getting that number? That Mexico number is more than double the actual rate of the most violent country in the world. Mexico isn't even in the top 10!

These 10 Countries Have The World's Highest Murder Rates

(Source: UN Global Study on Homicide )

EDITED:

I think I found your source, but that number is just wrong. I do see where NationMaster has Mexico listed at 218+ Mexico Crime Stats

That stands in stark contrast to the links I just provided. I think that part of the discrepancy is due to counting murders vs. 'intentional homicides' which seems to be an effort to distinguish between deaths in gun battles between rival cartel groups and/or Federales and what we typically think of when we think of homicide. There are also questions about reporting accuracies, both in Mexico and the U.S.
It's very important to cite numbers using the same denominator. Fermion is quoting rates per million, while dixonge is quoting rates per hundred thousand.

The attached table is from the original report referenced in dixonge's link. The denominator is 100,000. Apologies, I could not rotate the screenshot.
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:19 AM   #40
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I traveled just after 911 and all of these things happened to me. Right here in the US.
Yes we traveled from Vancouver to New Orleans on Oct. 1, 2001. Although we noticed increased security at the airport in Minneapolis, we encountered full planes and full hotels when we got there. The week was uneventful from a security viewpoint.
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