How can we evaluate whether or not a given area – perhaps a business or leisure travel destination – has a high or low risk for crime? It’s an important thing to know in order to prepare against potential threats.
In the U.S., crime statistics are readily and easily available online. But outside of the U.S., that data isn’t necessarily as easy to obtain.
Although some government agencies (think ‘State Department’) offer their Alerts, nothing compares to the information one gleans from observation on the ground and/or, from locals. So, some of the nonstandard clues that we look at when creating a travel threat report for our clients include the following:
- Tagging – the amount, nature and location of graffiti, particularly around hotel and meeting locations.
- Where are the ATMs – there is a lower likelihood in high crime areas that ATMs will be located outside a secure location (such as a bank) or inside retail locations that are not secure.
- Retailers – what is the level of security in place for local shops, markets, petrol stations and the like?
- Leaving belongings in plain sight, in an automobile – in low crime areas, people often treat their car as a catch all. In high crime areas, people know to keep absolutely nothing in their car that would make it an easy target.
- Bars on windows – proliferation of extra security measures on doors and windows.
- Behavior of locals – how pedestrians carry their bags and purses, conduct themselves, their affect are all clues to what is going on.
- Intel from Pizza delivery – who knows their immediate neighborhood better than food delivery drivers?
Tell us! What unconventional crime indicators do you look for?